BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took to the Senate floor this week to discuss his Global Health Security and Diplomacy Act (GHSDA), legislation to better detect, deter, and contain infectious disease outbreaks overseas before they become global pandemics.
“We want to talk about – what do we do when this happens in the future?” said Risch. “How can we create [a capacity] that just like a fire department, when the bell rings they pull their boots on, they slide down the pole, they get on the truck, and they go put out the fire?”
“I invite you and commit to you that we will work with you as we develop this new legislation, and as we go through the hearings,” Risch continued. “It is intended in the best spirit to help us all move forward to get to a piece of a very significant legislation that will hopefully take us forward like PEPFAR did, and like some of those other monumental pieces of legislation, that can address this incredibly difficult situation, and hurtful situation, not only for America, but for the world.”
GHSDA was introduced on May 21 and is cosponsored by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
To date, GHSDA has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Global Citizen, the Global Health Council (GHC), the GHC Global Health Security Roundtable, the Global Health Technologies Coalition, Global Water 2020, Management Sciences for Health, the ONE Campaign, and PATH.
Key provisions of the senators’ legislation include:
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 find vaccines for epidemic diseases:
Creating opportunities for innovation and burden-sharing:
Full text of this legislation can be found here.
Remarks have been lightly edited for clarification. To download the video file of Senator Risch’s full remarks, click here.