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Connolly and Chabot Introduce Bipartisan Global Health Security Act

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced the bipartisan Global Health Security Act, which reaffirms the United States’ commitment to promoting global health security. The legislation is cosponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), and Ann Wagner (R-MO).

The Global Health Security Act seeks to address two main issues – that U.S. global health security staffing and activities are largely reliant on an executive order and not specifically supported in law, and that the U.S. needs a permanent designated official responsible for coordinating the interagency response to a global health security emergency.

Republican and Democratic presidents alike have recognized the critical importance of global health security – from President Obama’s role in launching the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to President Trump’s National Security Strategy and National Biodefense Strategy. The Global Health Security Act codifies U.S. investments in the ability to prepare for and respond to public health threats and reduce or prevent their spread across borders. In particular, this bill bolsters U.S. commitments under the Global Health Security Agenda, which is a multilateral initiative to build countries’ capacity to manage infectious disease threats and elevate heath security as a global priority.

“Saving lives from the next global pandemic starts with investing in preparedness before it strikes,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly. “As we’ve seen time and time again, diseases do not respect borders, and global health crises have immense security, economic, and humanitarian consequences. Our legislation recognizes the critical role of U.S. leadership in international health security, enshrines U.S. global health security policy in statute, and ensures that there is a permanent designated official responsible for coordinating these efforts in a strategic way.”

“Deploying the tools to prevent diseases like Zika and Ebola from reaching America is a vital component of protecting our nation,” said Rep. Steve Chabot. “I am pleased to work with Congressman Connolly to introduce this legislation to provide Congressional authorization and oversight for the Administration’s efforts to advance global health security. I look forward to working with him, the Trump Administration, and other stakeholders to strengthen and pass this legislation early in the 116th Congress.”

“I believe the Global Health Security Act offers some much needed improvements in the way our country prepares for – and potentially responds to – a dangerous epidemic,” said Ron Klain, former Ebola czar under the Obama Administration. “It builds on the lessons learned from prior incidents, and puts in place a sound structure going forward. Such bipartisan measures are important and should be enacted by the Congress as quickly as possible.”

"The Global Health Security Act strengthens the way the US works to protect, detect, and respond to major international epidemics. It would help to codify the GHSA, bring coordination to the relevant programs across agencies, and clarify responsibility for leadership of the effort. It builds on the early successes of the GHSA," said Tom Inglesby, President and CEO of JHU Center for Health Security.

The Global Health Security Act is endorsed by the Global Health Council, IntraHealth International, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and PATH.

Text of the legislation is available here.
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