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Buddy C.
Republican GA 1

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  • Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act

    by Representative Earl L. "Buddy" Carter

    Posted on 2015-02-02

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    CARTER of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 361) to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to codify authority under existing grant guidance authorizing use of Urban Area Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Grant Program funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities.

    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 361 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act''.


    Section 2008 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 609) is amended-- (1) in subsection (a), by redesignating paragraphs (10) through (13) as paragraphs (11) through (14), respectively, and by inserting after paragraph (9) the following: ``(10) enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities, including the development and maintenance of an initial pharmaceutical stockpile, including medical kits, and diagnostics sufficient to protect first responders, their families, immediate victims, and vulnerable populations from a chemical or biological event;''; and (2) in subsection (b)(3)(B), by striking ``(a)(10)'' and inserting ``(a)(11)''.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Carter) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Payne) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.

    General Leave Mr. CARTER of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Georgia? There was no objection.

    Mr. CARTER of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 361, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, introduced by my colleague and the former chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, Congressman Bilirakis.

    This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make it clear that grant funds under the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Area Security Initiative may be used to enhance medical preparedness and purchase medical countermeasures.

    The grant guidance for these programs currently allows funds to be used for medical preparedness equipment and activities. This bill codifies those activities to ensure that they will continue to be allowable, and it will not cost any additional money to do so.

    We have seen the benefits that grant funds, including those used for medical preparedness activities, have provided when it comes to response capabilities. This was clearly demonstrated in the response to the Boston Marathon bombings.

    We know that the threat of a chemical or biological attack is real. We must ensure that our first responders have the tools and capabilities they need if such an event should occur.

    As a result of this bill, grant funds could be used for items such as predeployed medical kits for first responders and their families, caches of equipment, training and exercises, and planning activities.

    Identical language to H.R. 361 was approved by the Committee on Homeland Security last year by a bipartisan voice vote and passed the House by a vote of 391-2.

    Mr. Speaker, as a pharmacist and someone whose coastal district lives under constant threat of hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters, I know firsthand the benefits that these types of equipment and activities can provide for our first responders and the citizens that they protect.

    I urge Members to support this bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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