Connolly-Chabot Reintroduce Global Health Security Act

Bipartisan Legislation Would Invest in Global Health Security

This press release was originally published here.

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) reintroduced the bipartisan Global Health Security Act, which reaffirms the United States’ commitment to promoting global health security. The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Rick Larsen (D-WA).

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. Unfortunately, almost 70% of the world’s nations are underprepared to manage or control outbreaks. 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.”

“It is vitally important that Congress play a role in crafting our policy on global health security,” said Rep. Steve Chabot. “Global health security is national security. We take the fight to our enemies abroad so that we do not have to fight them here at home. In exactly the same way, we must work to combat infectious diseases before they reach America. I am proud of our work on this legislation which cements our commitment to this critical, bipartisan priority.”

“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 Response Coordinator. “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 is endorsed by ChildFund International, 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 (MSH).

Text of the legislation is available here