Congress has passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPA) following approval in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The bill (S.1379) now awaits President Trump’s signature which is ex-pected in the near future. America’s Blood Centers (ABC) and its members have supported this broad legislation that drives the nation’s disaster planning and read-iness activity. This marks the first time-ever that the sweeping preparedness and response legislation specifically recognizes the role of blood centers, calling for ac-tion in support of a safe and available blood supply through three important provisions for blood centers:
• inclusion of blood centers as stakeholders that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) must consult in disaster planning;
• recognition of financial implications borne by blood centers for such work; and
• a report to Congress from HHS within one year of the bill’s enactment regarding recommendations for supporting an adequate blood supply.
“The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act is critically important legislation that works to make our nation better prepared for and able to keep Americans safer in response to natural disasters or biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear threats to our public health and national security,” said Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) a cosponsor of the bill in a news release. “I am proud this bipartisan legislation is now on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law because it will ensure our health care professionals are trained to respond to possible pandemic outbreaks, prioritize the further development of our national stockpile of vaccines, medical equipment and diagnostics, and establish new advisory groups focused on protecting vulnerable populations such as senior citizens and people with disabilities during public health threats and emergencies.”
PAHPA expired in September of 2018 as the House and Senate worked to reach a compromise on the legislation that reauthorizes funding for public health prepared-ness, bioterrorism, and agencies such as BARDA. “The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act better equips our federal agencies to respond to new and emerging threats that jeopardize our national security and public health,” added bill cosponsor Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif). “I applaud the House and Senate’s bipartisan commitment to strengthening our nation’s existing preparedness and response programs, and I look forward to the President signing this important bill into law.”
ABC previously signed-on to multiple coalition letters, joining more than 60 organizations, sent to con-gressional leadership encouraging passage of PAHPA in addition to ABC members advocating on Capitol Hill with their members of Congress during ABC’s annual Advocacy Day in March. “This was long over-due, and sorely needed,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee in a news release. “The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPA) is a longstanding, bipartisan national security priority. While PAHPA should have been approved months ago, I’m glad our nation’s public health infrastructure programs have been reauthorized and extended so that our federal, state, and local officials have the tools they need to respond quickly and effectively to emerging and ongoing threats – whether they are natural or man-made.”
ABC thanks all members that have supported both ABC’s and the blood community’s advocacy efforts in encouraging Congress to pass this legislation.