MEDICAL PREPAREDNESS ALLOWABLE USE ACT
(House of Representatives - January 31, 2017)

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[Pages H797-H798]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                 MEDICAL PREPAREDNESS ALLOWABLE USE ACT

  Mr. DONOVAN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 437) 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. 437

       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''.

     SEC. 2. USE OF CERTAIN HOMELAND SECURITY GRANT FUNDS FOR 
                   ENHANCING MEDICAL PREPAREDNESS, MEDICAL SURGE 
                   CAPACITY, AND MASS PROPHYLAXIS CAPABILITIES.

       Section 2008 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 
     609) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)--
       (A) by redesignating paragraphs (10) through (14) as 
     paragraphs (11) through (15), respectively; and
       (B) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new 
     paragraph (10):
       ``(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 ``subsection 
     (a)(10)'' and inserting ``subsection (a)(11)''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Donovan) and the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Richmond) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.


                             General Leave

  Mr. DONOVAN. 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 New York?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. DONOVAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security's 
Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, I 
rise today in support of H.R. 437, the Medical Preparedness Allowable 
Use Act. H.R. 437 was introduced by Congressman Bilirakis, a former 
chairman of the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications 
Subcommittee.
  This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make it clear 
that State Homeland Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security 
Initiative Grant funds may be used to enhance medical preparedness and 
purchase medical countermeasures.
  H.R. 437 codifies current grant guidance to ensure that recipients of 
the State Homeland Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security 
Initiative Grants will continue to be able to use these funds for 
medical preparedness equipment and activities.
  Mr. Speaker, the threat of a terrorist attack using a chemical or 
biological agent is real. We must ensure our first responders have the 
tools and capabilities they need should such an event occur.
  In my district, the City of New York has put their Homeland Security 
grants to good use for this purpose. In 2014, they held a full-scale 
exercise which simulated an anthrax attack on the city. Participants 
from agencies across the city, including the health department, the New 
York City Police Department, and the Office of Emergency Management 
worked to set up locations to quickly distribute lifesaving medical 
countermeasures to city residents across the five boroughs.
  We must ensure that the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the 
Urban Areas Security Initiative funds continue to be available, despite 
any changes to yearly grant guidance, for exercises like the one 
conducted by New York City and other important medical preparedness 
activities. This bill does just that.
  Identical language to H.R. 437 passed the House last Congress by a 
vote of 377-2.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Congressman Bilirakis for introducing this 
commonsense bill. I urge all Members to join me in supporting this 
bill.
  I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1630

  Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 437. Whether the result of a 
naturally occurring outbreak, like Zika or Ebola, or an intentional 
release of bio-pathogens, like anthrax attacks that shook Washington 
immediately after 9/11, we must ensure that our public health and 
medical response communities are prepared to respond to events that may 
stretch their capabilities.
  In recent years, the Metropolitan Medical Response System Program has 
been eliminated, and grants supported by the Department of Health and 
Human Services, such as the Hospital Preparedness Program, have been 
cut. As a result, many jurisdictions have been forced to make tough 
choices and, in many cases, divert other limited funding to support 
medical preparedness.
  Under current law, the Urban Area Security Initiative and the State 
Homeland Security Grant Program funding can be used to bolster medical 
preparedness capabilities, but the ability to use funds for that 
purpose is contingent on the grant guidance issued

[[Page H798]]

every year. H.R. 437 would make enhancing medical preparedness and 
medical surge capacity and capabilities eligible uses of Homeland 
Security Grant funds under the law.
  This measure passed in the House last Congress, and I urge my 
colleagues to again support this measure.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DONOVAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis).
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member for his 
support.
  I rise today in support of critical legislation to support public 
safety and first responders, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use 
Act, H.R. 437.
  My bill will help secure medical countermeasures for first 
responders, ensuring we are prepared for any type of emergency. For 
instance, last year, in Florida, we faced the outbreak of the Zika 
virus.
  The Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act means that reliable grant 
funding would be available to conduct medical preparedness activities 
such as planning, training, and purchasing protective equipment to 
combat Zika or other public health threats going forward nationwide. 
When the worst occurs, our first responders are there for us on the 
front lines.
  I consistently find myself in awe of these brave men and women and 
the sacrifices they make on the public's behalf. They are heroes. The 
least we can do is make sure they have the tools they need to do their 
jobs and keep us safe. That is what my bill seeks to accomplish. We 
want to keep them safe as well, Mr. Speaker.
  The legislation authorizes grant funds for the stockpiling of 
countermeasures, including medical kits, protective gear, ventilators, 
and more. This should give us all peace of mind to know this vital 
equipment will be there in case of a crisis.
  Importantly, the grant fund used in H.R. 437 already exists. The bill 
does not require new or additional funding. Also significant, this bill 
has received strong bipartisan support.
  I thank my colleagues, Representatives Susan Brooks and Peter King, 
for being original cosponsors of H.R. 437.
  I was inspired to write this legislation during my time as 
subcommittee chairman on the Homeland Security Committee after a series 
of hearings with folks from the emergency response community. They 
expressed the urgent need for stockpiling these medical countermeasures 
and for providing first responders the assurance that grant funding may 
be used to support them now and in the future. They need certainty, Mr. 
Speaker.
  I am proud to have the support of the Emergency Services Coalition 
for Medical Preparedness and the International Association of Fire 
Chiefs on this issue. The Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act is 
going to make a difference to protect the public and protect our 
protectors. I strongly urge passage today.
  Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I strongly support H.R. 437. Developing and maintaining 
medical preparedness is an important part of national preparedness. 
State and local governments should not have to wonder whether they will 
be able to use DHS grant funds for this purpose from year to year.
  I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 437.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DONOVAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I once again urge my colleagues to support H.R. 437.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Donovan) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 437.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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