The House Energy and Commerce Committee has started working on legislation to reauthorize the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) and will conduct a hearing on June 13 titled "Legislative Solutions to Bolster Preparedness and Response for All Hazards and Public Health Security Threats."
Click here for the hearing announcement.
This is an issue that the GAC will be following very closely in the coming months and will work in close collaboration with IAEM's Healthcare Caucus.
There was an interesting blurb about PAHPA Reauthorization in Politico Huddle this morning that provided some interesting behind-the-curtain context about the deliberations...
PAHPA REAUTHORIZATION NEEDS A KUMBAYA MOMENT - Concerns that partisan bickering could derail the reauthorizing of the nation's foremost pandemic preparedness law are overblown, according to former North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the bill's original co-author.
"This is a tumultuous time," Burr, now at a law and lobbying firm post-retirement, told Megan, noting that little is done on Capitol Hill without some partisan rancor.
It's part of why, he said, he couldn't reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act last year when he was ranking member on the Senate HELP Committee, though he touted working with then-Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on a related bill called the PREVENT Pandemics Act.
Still, he noted that the lead House Democratic negotiator and original co-author, Anna Eshoo of California, is "reasonable," "knowledgeable" and "passionate," and Richard Hudson of North Carolina, the lead Republican, has "done his homework," so he expects they'll find consensus.
Eshoo and Hudson are at odds over items including provisions meant to avert drug shortages, which Republicans contend don't belong in the bill. Democrats argue that the policies are relevant and the must-pass pandemic preparedness bill is the best vehicle.
Burr disagrees with Democrats.
While he understands members' desire to attach priorities, he opposes turning the legislation into a Christmas tree bill filled with ornaments. He said lawmakers must "focus on the areas of agreement" and create a foundation from which other policies can be evaluated based on their relevance.
"Historically, when we've done it that way, people on both sides of the aisle kick out the extraneous things because they have an opportunity to go back and say, but that wasn't within the framework," Burr said.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), now ranking member on the HELP Committee, said negotiations in the Senate are "being held up because of drug policy demands" from Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that are "completely outside the purview of PAHPA."
Sanders wants to include policies that would let the government retain intellectual property rights over treatments and vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies that received government funds to do so, lobbyists tell Megan that.
Sanders' office declined to comment on the status of PAHPA reauthorization and Cassidy's comments.
"I just don't think this is going to happen quickly, but the clock gets tight on them," Burr said. "Both sides are gonna get there."
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