Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) applauded President Trump signing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAI) of 2019 into law. This legislation enables the federal government to prepare for, and respond to, natural disasters and public health threats – both natural and man-made. PAHPAI includes Rubio’s provisions to establish specific disaster response protocols to ensure the unique needs of seniors are addressed, enable states to surveil and abate mosquitoes carrying Zika and other viruses, and give the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) direct hiring authority so they have the personnel necessary to respond to disasters.
 
“After Hurricanes Irma and Michael devastated Florida in 2017 and 2018, not only were our emergency response personnel exhausted and stretched thin, but we learned the hard way that our response protocols do not always ensure seniors receive the care they needed,” Rubio said. “I thank President Trump for signing this important legislation into law, ensuring that we will be able to deploy the medical response teams necessary to adequately assist Americans in the event of future natural disasters.”
 
Specifically PAHPAI includes the following Rubio priorities:
 
  • Legislation to develop preparedness protocols to ensure we are able to quickly care for seniors’ unique needs after disasters.
  • Legislation to expedite hiring authority for vacant positions in our nation’s emergency response healthcare workforce for HHS to respond to disasters. Before the 2017 hurricane season ended, there were about 2,000 open positions in HHS’ disaster medical response system, which strained response efforts.
  • Provision to strengthen regional public-private partnerships to improve disaster response.
  • Legislation to improve mosquito control programs and prevent mosquito-borne diseases.