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On the Hill: Recess Movement on Pandemic Preparedness

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health reportedly will hold a markup July 13 to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which includes programs important to essential hospitals that will expire Sept. 30, without congressional action.

Key Republican and Democratic leaders on the committee continue to disagree over whether to include measures to tackle drug shortages and the related scope of Food and Drug Administration authority. The committee’s markup will either force a bipartisan agreement or the package will head to the House floor as a Republican-only vote — and an uncertain outcome.

In a similar vein, Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) last week introduced the Disease X Act of 2023 to ensure the development of medical countermeasures for future pandemics. The legislation would establish a program at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and equip it with annual funding, differentiating it from similar proposals that did not allocate federal funding. Companion legislation championed by Reps. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), and Susie Lee (D-Nev.) was introduced in the House earlier this month.

Committee Activity This Week

The House and Senate are on their second week of a two-week recess for the July Fourth holiday.

On the calendar next week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing July 11, at 10 am ET, titled, “Superbugs: The Impact of Antimicrobial Resistance on Modern Medicine.”

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About the Author

Julia Grady is a senior legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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