Oversight subcommittee encourages preparing for threats, not reacting

At a recent meeting, the U.S. oversight subcommittee emphasized the importance of preparing for bio-threats instead of reacting.

The U.S. Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is focused on ensuring the U.S. can handle any attack, outbreak or accident.

To discuss its plans, the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), recently held a hearing, called “Outbreak, Attacks and Accidents: Combatting Biological Threats.”

“Over the last three years, this subcommittee has examined the impacts of, and our preparedness for, natural and accidental biological incidents,” Murphy said. “We have held hearings on our flawed response to the Ebola crisis; the need for better preparedness for pandemic and seasonal influenzas; the unsafe practices by the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control on the handling of live anthrax; and the Department of Homeland Security’s broken BioWatch system. In the coming weeks, we will examine the federal response to the Zika virus. Each of these topics has a common denominator — the federal government was not adequately prepared.”

Murphy believes the focus should be on planning for attacks, instead of reacting to them.

“For years, we have lunged from crisis to crisis, reacting to what just occurred instead of planning for the next outbreak or attack,” he said. “The subcommittee’s oversight work has made a difference in each area, but I am very concerned that the federal government lacks an overall plan for biodefense.”

Organizations in this story

U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce 2125 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

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