Reauthorization of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act clears House committee

Reauthorization of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act has cleared a U.S. House committee and now awaits relatively minor tweaking before final Senate and House approval.
Passed in 2006, the law is credited with making major improvements in the preparedness of the nation for bioterror attacks, pandemics and other public health emergencies.

An update on the process of the reauthorization was given by Zeno St. Cyr II, a representatives for the U.S. Health and Human Services, CIDRAP News reports.
St. Cyr, who is the director of legislative coordination with the office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, said that the bill has wide support on both sides of the political aisle. He said that the bill is not likely to include major new appropriations or authorities and that funding appears to be level for five years of reauthorization.
One change to the reauthorization bill includes $415 million for the Biodefense Medical Countermeasure Development fund, which was included but not funded when the law first passed. Other changes include a clause allowing state employees working on federally funded projects to assist with state-based emergency efforts, a streamlined way for the ASPR to fund research from its reserve fund and a clarification of duties within the ASPR.
To ease an administrative burden on states, the proposed bill calls for better alignment of HHS and other federal department grants.
In the House, the bill awaits scoring to assess offsets and cost items that are still needed. In the Senate, the bill will soon be introduced to the chamber's health committee, potentially at the end of the month or in early October. St. Cyr said he doesn't anticipate any protracted deliberations in the House-Senate conference committee and expects the bill will be sent to President Obama for his approval by the end of the year, CIDRAP News reports.