Lamar Alexander lauds Senate passage of bioterror preparedness bill

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) praised the passage by the Senate on Thursday of a bill to improve the country's ability to prepare for, and respond to, bioterror attacks and pandemics.

Alexander, the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said that the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 would improve the nation's preparedness for medical emergencies and biological terrorism.

"The threat of a bioterror attack or flu outbreak is real, and this bill helps ensure we're prepared for that threat and that our state and federal governments and local entities are working together to be as ready as possible," Alexander said. "I thank Sen. Burr for his leadership on this issue, and I urge our colleagues in the House to pass this important legislation."

Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) are the original co-sponsors of the bill.

The reauthorization would strengthen preparedness for and ability to respond to public health and medical emergencies, enhance medical countermeasure activities, optimize local and state all-hazards preparedness and response efforts and collaboration and reauthorize important public health and medical programs, such as the BioShield Special Reserve Fund.