Rubio Applauds Senate Passage of Bill to Boost Emergency Response Personnel, Protect Seniors After Natural Disasters
May 17 2019
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) applauded the Senate passage of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAI) of 2019, which 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 give the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) direct hire authority and to protect seniors during natural disasters, as well as enable states to surveil and abate mosquitos.
“After Hurricanes Irma and Michael devastated Florida in 2017 and 2018, our emergency response personnel were exhausted and stretched thin, and many seniors did not receive the care they needed,” Rubio said. “The passage of this bill is a step toward ensuring that we will be able to deploy the medical response teams necessary to adequately assist Americans after future natural disasters. I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this bill without delay.”
Specifically PAHPAIA 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.
- Provision to strengthen regional public-private partnerships to improve disaster response.
- Legislation to improve mosquito control programs and prevent mosquito-borne diseases.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) was first enacted in 2006 and reauthorized in 2013 to establish and maintain a framework to prepare for and respond to public health threats that may result in a public health emergency. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) spearheaded the original legislation.
This month, Senators Burr, Casey, Alexander, and Murray introduced the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAI), which reauthorizes PAHPA and builds upon its existing policies and programs to update these programs to address 21st century threats.