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Frank P.
Democrat NJ 6

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  • Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013

    by Representative Frank Pallone Jr.

    Posted on 2013-03-04

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    PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.



    I am pleased to rise in support of the Senate amendment to H.R. 307, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013. And I want to recognize the work that Ms. Eshoo, my colleague on the committee, has been doing on this legislation for many years.

    [[Page H833]] The legislation reauthorizes critical programs and activities first established as part of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the 2004 Project Bioshield Act, and the 2006 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act.

    {time} 1720 H.R. 307 passed the Senate in late February with an amendment that makes some changes to the House version passed in January. The new language updates the authorization period of programs to the fiscal years 2014-2018 instead of the fiscal years 2013-2017. It also modifies the authority for a State, territory or tribal organization to temporarily reassign public health personnel to respond to a public health emergency. In addition, there were some minor technical corrections to the House-passed legislation.

    Over the past decade, Mr. Speaker, these programs have represented comprehensive efforts to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. As a result of the investments that followed, our Nation is better equipped to respond to public health emergencies, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

    Our Nation continues to face threats that require an ongoing commitment to public health and emergency preparedness. Of course, I am thinking of my district and the State of New Jersey after we experienced a devastating storm that destroyed entire communities. The Federal Government's support, including programs authorized by PAHPA, were critical in the wake of this disaster.

    So I am pleased that Congress is finally able to get this legislation across the finish line. It reflects a bipartisan, bicameral effort that has been ongoing for more than a year--start to finish--and Members and staff have worked hard to see it through. Together, we have resolved differences and have made compromises, which is the way legislating is supposed to be done; and I was proud to be part of the process.

    I would like to thank many members of the Energy and Commerce Committee who contributed to this important bill: of course Ms. Eshoo, who will speak; Congressmen Mike Rogers and Gene Green; Chairman Upton; Chairman Pitts; Ranking Member Waxman; Congressman Markey; and all of their staffs. Everyone should be commended for their work.

    I urge Members to join me in supporting the passage of the Senate amendment to H.R. 307, and I look forward to finally getting this bill to the President's desk.

    I reserve the balance of my time.

    Office of the Secretary and Legal Counsel, Alliance for Biosecurity, Washington, DC, March 4, 2013.

    Hon. Mike Rogers, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Dear Representative Rogers: On behalf of the Alliance for Biosecurity, I write in strong support of the Pandemic All- Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 307). The Alliance for Biosecurity is a collaboration of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies working to develop medical countermeasures (MCMs) to prevent and treat diseases associated with bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases. We are extremely pleased that both the House and the Senate have taken this legislation up so expeditiously this Congress and hope for quick House passage of the amended bill.

    As you know, the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threat is real and growing. It is critical that the country continue ongoing efforts to develop, procure, and stockpile MCMs to both deter an attack and protect our citizens should a bioterrorism event occur. The Congressionally-established Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism 2008 report predicted that ``it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.'' There is a limited commercial market for MCMs; consequently, without adequate advanced development and stockpiling funding, companies have neither the incentive nor the ability to invest in these life-saving therapies.

    Reauthorization of PAHPA and Project BioShield is critical to ensuring the sustainability of the MCM enterprise. We urge you to pass the amended H.R. 307 without delay to ensure that our nation remains prepared to face such threats.

    Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Alliance for Biosecurity, The Alliance for Biosecurity, Secretariat and Legal Counsel.

    ____ American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL, March 1, 2013.

    Hon. Mike Rogers, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Congressman Rogers: On behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a professional organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, I write to express our support for H.R. 307, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013.

    Representing twenty-five percent of the U.S. population, children are not little adults. Their developing minds and bodies place them at disproportionate risk during a disaster situation. Children are particularly vulnerable to aerosolized biological or chemical agents because they breathe more times per minute than adults and they are more vulnerable to agents that act on or through the skin because their skin is thinner and they have a larger surface-to-mass ratio than adults. Children need different dosages of medicine than adults, not only because they are smaller, but also because certain drugs and biologics may have different or unanticipated effects on developing children. From needles and tubing, to oxygen masks and ventilators, to imaging and laboratory technology, children need medical equipment that has been specifically designed for their size and unique physiology.

    Numerous expert bodies including the National Commission on Children and Disasters and the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) have found that, with respect to medical countermeasures (MCMs) for children, significant gaps remain in pediatric indications, dosages and formulations. H.R.307 includes several important provisions that will help advance the development of MCMs for children by maximizing existing pediatric drug testing laws, increasing pediatric expertise at federal agencies involved in MCM development and procurement, and prioritizing children within the existing Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise. Additionally, the expansion of existing emergency use authorization authority will be critical to ensuring that countermeasures for children are stockpiled in advance of a disaster or emergency.

    In particular, the Academy thanks you for including a provision that will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters. With the termination of the National Commission on Children and Disasters, which helped focus attention on gaps in disaster planning and delivered practical recommendations to the President and Congress, the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters will help ensure that important progress made at various federal agencies, state and local levels, and throughout the private sector continues. Importantly, the Advisory Committee will bring together federal and non-federal partners to provide guidance and recommendations on our nation's preparedness to meet the needs of children before, during and after all- hazards emergencies. It is our hope that the Advisory Committee will comprehensively assess progress toward fulfilling the recommendations of the National Commission on Children and Disasters. The Academy looks forward to working with you and the Department of Health and Human Services to establish the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters.

    H.R. 307 maintains the important role of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) while ensuring that the NDMS takes into account pediatric populations. It also ensures that the requirements for the Hospital Preparedness Program and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement Program have specific pediatric performance measures. The AAP applauds the requirement in the legislation that the NBSB include an individual with pediatric subject matter expertise.

    Thank you for your continued commitment to improving the health and well-being of children. We look forward to working with you on passage of H.R. 307.

    Sincerely, Thomas K. McInerny, MD, FAAP, President.

    ____ Biotechnology Industry Organization, Washington, DC, March 1, 2013.

    Hon. John Boehner, Speaker, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:On behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), I am writing with our strong support for the Senate Amendment to H.R. 307, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness (PAHPA) Reauthorization Act of 2013, which will be considered on the floor of the House on March 4th.

    BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. Our members play a central role in ensuring the effective development of medical countermeasures (MCMs) to protect our [[Page H834]] nation's citizens against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, whether naturally occurring or man-made.

    We strongly support the simultaneous reauthorization of Project BioShield and the Special Reserve Fund (SRF) with the reauthorization of PAHPA. Because the government represents the sole marketplace for the vast majority of MCMs, the funding available through the SRF is vital for private companies, considering the high cost and significant time commitment associated with the development and manufacture of these products.

    We thank you for quickly moving the legislation forward in the House, and we look forward to this legislation passing, and then being signed into law in the near future. We wish to especially congratulate Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Gene Green (D-TX) for their leadership on this issue. Thank you.

    Sincerely, James C. Greenwood, President and CEO.

    ____ The Roundtable on Critical Care Policy, Washington, DC, March 1, 2013.

    Hon. John Boehner, Speaker of the House, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:The Roundtable on Critical Care Policy strongly supports the Senate Amendment to H.R. 307, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA) of 2013, and urges the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this vital legislation that will improve America's public health, medical preparedness and response capabilities, and enhance the nation's ability to care for the critically ill and injured in the aftermath of a public health emergency.

    In particular, our organization strongly supports the Roundtable-endorsed provisions included in the current version of PAHPRA that would prioritize critical care within the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS). More specifically, these provisions would, for the first time, add care for critically ill patients in our nation's intensive care units (ICU) to the federal government's medical preparedness and surge capacity goals, thereby ensuring that critical care is included in federal, state and local planning efforts to increase preparedness for public health emergencies. This reauthorization would require the inclusion of medical surge capacity in the periodic evaluation of the nation's preparedness capabilities, enabling an efficient and effective medical response during an emergency.

    The Roundtable also commends the inclusion of language in the NHSS that requires coordinated medical triage and evacuation to appropriate medical institutions during a public health emergency, which supports the Roundtable's past calls for increased planning for patient evacuation in hospitals--including ICUs.

    When our nation is faced with a health emergency, the critical care delivery system is an integral component of our nation's medical response. Yet, despite the fact that Americans depend on this delivery system to care for our most critically ill and injured--a system whose capacity is truly put to the test and often stretched to its limits in the event of a widespread health emergency--critical care medicine has not been given sufficient consideration in our disaster preparedness efforts, until now.

    The Roundtable believes that the inclusion of these provisions in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 will go a long way towards strengthening the nation's critical care infrastructure, and addressing the needs of the critically ill and injured in the event of a major public health crisis.

    We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives under your leadership for working to improve our federal disaster preparedness efforts, and ensuring the prioritization of critical care within PAHPRA.

    Sincerely, Stephanie Silverman, President.

    ____ March 1, 2013.

    Hon. Fred Upton, Chairman, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Joseph R. Pitts, Chairman, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Mike Rogers, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Hon. Frank Pallone, Jr., Ranking Member, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Chairmen Upton and Pitts, Ranking Members Waxman and Pallone, and Rep. Rogers: On behalf of the undersigned organizations, dedicated to protecting the public health of our nation, we write to express our support for the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2012 (PAHPRA). We urge swift passage in the House as this legislation is critical to the safety of our nation. We thank you for your leadership on this legislation that is critical to the safety of our nation.

    PAHPRA is vital to state and local health and other public health practitioners who are a critical part of any community's first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies, and acts of terrorism. The following provisions in particular are essential to keeping communities healthy and safe: Temporary Reassignment of Federally Funded Personnel During a Public Health Emergency (Section 201): The provision allows states and tribes to request from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to temporarily reassign public health personnel from other HHS-funded grant programs to respond to a major emergency. The authority would allow state and local governments to meet the tremendous staffing needs required by a disaster.

    Reauthorization of the Public Health and Emergency Preparedness Grants (PHEP) (Section 202): The PHEP cooperative agreement program provides funding to local and state public health departments to strengthen their capacity and capability to effectively respond to public health emergencies including terrorist threats, infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological emergencies. State and local health departments work with federal government officials, law enforcement, emergency management, health care, business, education, and religious groups to plan, train, and prepare for emergencies so that when disaster strikes, communities are prepared.

    Reauthorization of the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) (Section 203): HPP provides funding to state and local health departments to enhance hospital preparedness and improve overall surge capacity in the case of public health emergencies. The preparedness activities carried out under this program strengthen the capabilities of hospitals throughout the country to respond to floods, hurricanes, or wildfires, and also include training for a potential influenza pandemic or terrorist attack.

    Carryover of Grant Use, Coordination (Section 202 and 203): The bill updates the preparedness grant programs at HHS giving grantees limited ability to carry over funds encouraging flexibility and efficiency. The provisions promote long-term planning currently impossible in an unpredictable fiscal environment.

    Children's Preparedness (Sections 103, 307 and throughout): The bill establishes the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters to bring together federal and non- federal partners to provide guidance and recommendations on medical and public health preparedness for children before, during and after a disaster or public health emergency. The bill takes significant steps to consider the particular needs of pediatric populations in Medical Countermeasure (MCM) research and development. The bill also calls for consideration of the needs of children, as an at-risk population, in the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise Strategy and Implementation Plan, PHEP, HPP, and Medical Reserve Corps.

    Enhancing Situational Awareness and Biosurveillance (Section 204): The bill calls for planning and integration of the current biosurveillance systems to strengthen the nation's bioterrorism and disease outbreak response capabilities. The bill also requires coordination with the National Biodefense Science Board. HHS is required to provide a report to Congress on their implementation plans and progress.

    Individuals with Disabilities (Section 101): The bill calls for the consideration of the needs individuals with disabilities in the National Health Security Strategy.

    Thank you again for your work to reauthorize this important legislation.

    Sincerely, Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), Executive Director, American Public Health Association.

    Robert M. Pestronk, MPH, Executive Director, National Association of County and City Health Officials.

    Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, Executive Director, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

    Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director, Trust For America's Health.

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