WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last week introduced comprehensive global health legislation entitled the International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act (S. 2297) to improve global health and pandemic preparedness and enhance COVID-19 response efforts.
“Thanks to the Biden administration’s efforts, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this dark and tragic chapter that has taken more than 600,000 of our loved ones. But as the United States turns the page on COVID-19, that reality is still far out of reach for millions more living beyond our borders, where the pandemic continues to rage. We must commit to ending the spread of coronavirus everywhere, as it remains a threat to American lives and livelihoods as long as it persists,” Chairman Menendez said. “The International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act enhances our ability to take robust action now and halt future infectious disease threats before they reach our shores. Only through better planning and preparation here in the United States and by supporting the same overseas can we protect ourselves, our communities, and future generations from emerging pathogens.”
“Over the past 17 months, we have rightly focused on the domestic and international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the development and deployment of effective vaccines. However, this pandemic isn’t the first to threaten the American people, and it won’t be the last,” said Ranking Member Risch. “We need to enact stronger prevention and preparedness measures now if we want to get ahead of the next crisis, so Chairman Menendez and I have introduced bipartisan legislation to do just that. Our legislation will require a strategy to identify and close the gaps in global health security that make us vulnerable to outbreaks, create a framework to improve the coordination of U.S. global health diplomacy and assistance efforts, establish effective and transparent international early warning systems, and provide a framework for the establishment of an accountable, international incentive fund to advance global health security and pandemic prevention and preparedness. This bill builds upon 17 months of work, and I look forward to marking it up in committee soon.”
Key provisions of the senators’ legislation include:
Responding to the current pandemic:
Enhancing strategic planning:
Strengthening interagency coordination and diplomatic engagement:
Promoting transparency, accountability, and long-term results:
Strengthening USAID’s emergency response capacity:
Joining global efforts to develop vaccines for epidemic diseases:
Improving early detection and response of potential pandemic threats:
Creating opportunities for innovation and burden-sharing:
Full text of the legislation can be found here.