House passes legislation to reauthorize PAHPA

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act on Tuesday, which will allow for the continuation of several programs meant to counter biological, chemical and nuclear attacks.

H.R. 307 passed in a 395-29 vote on Tuesday under a suspension of House rules. The bill received 40 minutes of debate and was subject to a two-thirds majority vote. A similar bill passed the House in 2012, but it was not taken up by the Senate, the Hill reports.

PAHPA reauthorizes multiple programs under the Public Health Service Act for five years at the same levels of funding as 2012.

House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said that the reauthorization was necessary to continue the development of vaccines and countermeasures in addition to protecting against terrorist attacks.

"The threat of bioterrorism remains a very real danger indeed to the American people," Rogers said, according to the Hill. "The work to protect Americans against bio-terrorism is not finished, and we must pass this bill or the future of America's public health preparedness infrastructure will be in jeopardy."

Rogers said that the bill was developed with help from both parties and from members of both the Senate and the House.

The House called up the bill under a suspension of the rules, a process it often uses for bills that are not controversial. The bill will now go to the Senate, the Hill reports.