Burr, Brooks commend signing of law to help America prepare, respond to all disasters

The bipartisan Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act, legislation aimed at protecting Americans from public health security threats and sponsored by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), became law on Monday with the president’s signature.

Sen. Burr introduced S. 1379 with U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), while Rep. Brooks introduced H.R. 269 with U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA). The legislation was authored by Sen. Burr and first enacted in 2006 to establish and maintain a framework to prepare for and respond to public health threats that may result in a public health emergency. The newly signed law builds upon that existing framework to update numerous programs to address 21st century threats.

“Whether it’s a disease outbreak, natural disaster or biological attack, it’s essential our nation is prepared to address the ever-growing variety of public health threats and challenges of the 21st century,” Sen. Burr said. “This legislation ensures our nation is constantly vigilant against these threats and is ready to respond with innovative countermeasures.”

The law will bolster the nation’s current preparedness and response programs and will ensure improved preparedness and response to a wider range of public health emergencies that may be man-made or occurring through a natural disaster or infectious disease.

“People across the country expect the federal government to be prepared to keep them safe during times of natural disasters or biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear threats to our public health and national security,” said Rep. Brooks. “The reality is, these kinds of threats are not just hypothetical.”

The congresswoman said that threats including Ebola, smallpox or a pandemic influenza could cripple a community, regardless of the threat being naturally occurring or manufactured into a weapon of mass destruction.

“Now that PAHPA has been signed into law, we are one step closer to a safer and more secure future,” Rep. Brooks said. “PAHPA is a critically important bipartisan tool that bolsters America’s response to the growing threats to our public health security and is the product of years of collaboration from medical and public health preparedness and response stakeholders.”