Connolly, Chabot reintroduce Global Health Security Act
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) reintroduced the Global Health Security Act.
The legislation, which passed the House in September 2020, reaffirms the United States’ commitment to promoting global health security and is crucial to combatting the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The legislation is cosponsored by 55 members of the House.
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.
These issues are particularly urgent in light of the threat posed by the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe.
“More than 400,000 Americans and two million people across the world have died from the Coronavirus. Disease knows no borders, and this pandemic must be a wakeup call for Congress that the federal government must have a coordinated strategy with empowered leaders to prepare for future pandemics,” Connolly and Chabot said in a joint statement. “By recognizing the critical role of U.S. leadership in international health security, enshrining U.S. global health security policy in statute, and ensuring that there is a permanent designated official responsible for coordinating these efforts in a strategic way, our legislation makes sure the United States is never caught off guard by future public health crises.”
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 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.
In 2019, then-Director of National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats released the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, which said, “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or largescale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”
And according to the CDC, “Nearly 70% of the world’s countries are unprepared to effectively detect, assess, report and respond to potential public health threats.”
The Global Health Security Act is endorsed by ChildFund International, Global Citizen, Global Health Council, International Medical Corps, IntraHealth International, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Nuclear Threat Initiative, PATH, the American Society of the Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and Management Sciences for Health, the ONE Campaign, The Borgen Project, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and the American Society for Microbiology.
Connolly, president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and Chabot, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, penned an OpEd for The Hill on the need to pass this legislation in 2020.
The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Chabot, Fitzpatrick, Larsen, Wagner, Bera, Bass, Beatty, Beyer, Blunt Rochester, Brownley, Cartwright, Case, Casten, Cicilline, Cleaver, Cole, Cooper, Costa, Dean, DeFazio, Deutch, Espaillat, Frankel, Gonzalez, Hastings, Hayes, Houlahan, Jackson Lee, Keating, Khanna, Kilmer, Langevin, Levin (D-MI), Lieu, Lynch, Malinowski, Maloney, McGovern, Meng, Norton, Phillips, Rush, Sewell, Sherman, Sires, Soto, Spanberger, Suozzi, Titus, Tonko, Trahan, Trone, Watson Coleman, Wexton, and Wilson (SC).
Text of the legislation is available here.