Sen. Burr applauds passage of bipartisan preparedness bill

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) issued a statement on Thursday following the passage of a bipartisan bill by the United States Senate to improve the preparedness of the U.S. against terrorist attacks.

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act Reauthorization of 2011 builds on the lessons learned since a similar act was passed in 2006 to make targeted enhancements to existing response and preparedness programs and authorities. The bill is meant to improve the nation's ability to deal with the medical and public health emergencies that can result from a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.

"The American people must be protected if an attack occurs, and I am proud that the Senate has taken the critical step of strengthening our ability to respond to medical and public health emergencies by reauthorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act," Burr said. "I am hopeful that we will send this important legislation to reauthorize PAHPA to the President quickly so that he may sign it into law."

The legislation was introduced by Senators Burr, Casey (D-Pa.), Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Harkin (D-Iowa) to respond to hazards ranging from a deliberate bioterrorism attack to an influenza pandemic.

"We have come a long way in improving our nation's ability to respond to a bioterror attack or public health emergency since Congress passed the original PAHPA law in 2006, but the 2009 H1N1 pandemic underscored the reality that more remains to be done," Burr said. "I am pleased that this bill will strengthen our existing medical and public health preparedness and response programs based on the lessons we have learned in recent years, including ensuring that the FDA has the tools it needs to advance the medical countermeasures necessary to respond to modern day threats."