Susan Brooks

Susan Brooks


Brooks Statement Regarding the State Department Office of Inspector General’s Evaluation of Email Records Management


WASHINGTON— Select Committee on Benghazi member Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN05) released the following statement regarding the State Department Office of Inspector General’s Evaluation of Email Records Management:

“From the beginning, our investigation has prioritized understanding the failures leading up to, during and after the September 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Part of that understanding must include the communications between the federal agencies involved, including the former Secretary of State and her senior staff. The problems with State Department records identified by the Office of the Inspector General’s report, specifically the failure of the Department to respond to Congressional inquiries in a timely and comprehensive manner, have interfered with our investigation. The difficult process of obtaining these records from the State Department, as well as other Administrative agencies, has significantly delayed our progress, and I hope that this report is a positive step towards more transparency and accountability in the future.”

A recent review of some of the document productions the Select Committee has received showed that its work has been delayed by the equivalent of at least 5,940 days – over 16 years – in the last nine months alone. For instance, a response to a request made by the Select Committee in November 2014 for documents from the State Department took more than a year. These documents were made available to the Select Committee on May 6th of this year.

The Select Committee has already obtained and reviewed more than 74,000 pages of documents never before seen by a congressional committee. More than 100 witnesses have been interviewed during the course of the investigation, including 79 never before interviewed about Benghazi by a congressional committee.

The Select Committee is in the process of drafting the final report which is expected before summer.

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Brooks Bill to Improve Readiness for Biological Threats Examined by House Health Subcommittee


WASHINGTON— Today, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee examined H.R. 3299, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to streamline decision-making procedures and to incentivize investment in vaccines and treatments for dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens. Effective vaccines and treatments for these kinds of biological threats will enhance our Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). The SNS is operated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency.

“Our national readiness and biodefense capabilities are underprepared. The threat to our national security posed by dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens, like Ebola or anthrax, is constant and cannot be under estimated. The legislation we considered today is the result of more than a year of bipartisan work at this committee, and I look forward to further consideration of this proposal to better protect the health and safety of the American people.”

H.R. 3299, the Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act, reinstates the original contracting authority provided to Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) which would ensure faster development of critical medical countermeasures and eliminated bureaucratic red tape. Additionally, this legislation expands the Priority Review Voucher program for material threats identified by the Department of Homeland Security. Expanding the program incentivizes the development, testing and distribution of accines and treatments for neglected, but dangerous, diseases. A photo and video footage of Brooks’ testimony at the hearing is available here.

“When biological threats are considered, the most important part of our preparedness is the successful development of vaccines and treatments before a biological threat or attack occurs. Having treatments and vaccines ready when a biological threat like Ebola strikes has immeasurable benefits, not the least of which is significantly limiting the scope of the outbreak. Given reports that ISIS is pursuing chemical and biological weapons, we must act now to prepare ourselves for the challenges that these kinds of weapons pose to our collective health and security.”

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense released a report last October that found that our national biodefense strategy and efforts need significant improvement. Brooks has been leading efforts in Congress to act on the 33 recommendations presented in the Panel’s final report. Additionally, Brooks co-sponsored H.R. 4400 with Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), legislation that added Zika virus to the FDA Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program. Companion legislation to H.R. 4400, S. 2512, was signed into law last month. 

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Brooks, Bucshon, Walorski Tapped to Negotiate Final Opioid Legislation


(WASHINGTON, DC) – On Tuesday, three members of Indiana’s Congressional delegation were appointed to a special conference committee comprised of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that will negotiate the final details of comprehensive legislation to curb opioid and heroin abuse.

Reps. Susan W. Brooks (IN-05), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), and Jackie Walorski (IN-02) will serve as members of the conference committee. The committee will work toward an agreement resolving legislative differences between the House and Senate packages to address heroin and opioid abuse. The final agreement must be approved by both the chambers before it reaches the President’s desk.

“Drug overdoses in Indiana have increased five-fold in the past decade, and Hoosier law enforcement officers, medical providers, veterans, emergency responders, and families need our help to address the increasingly alarming rates of heroin and opioid abuse in our communities,” said the members. “We look forward to working with our Senate counterparts to develop a comprehensive, bipartisan solution that will support the work our state and local partners are doing each day to combat this crisis.  It is truly going to take all of us to stem the tide of heroin and opioid abuse that is claiming so many lives in Indiana, and around the country.”

The House members of the committee were appointed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan who called the contribution of Brooks, Bucshon, and Walorski invaluable.

“Right now, more Americans die every year from drug overdoses than they do in car accidents,” said Speaker Ryan.  “Last week, the House passed a comprehensive legislative package to address the heroin and opioid crisis that is sweeping across this country. As we take all of these ideas to a conference committee with the Senate, Reps. Brooks, Bucshon, and Walorski will be invaluable to our efforts to get a final bill to the president’s desk that ensures Americans have the resources they need to win their fight against addiction.”

The legislative package passed by the House included initiatives led by all three members.

Brooks introduced H.R. 4641 with Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA). This legislation establishes a task force comprised of people with chronic pain, people in recovery, medical providers, hospitals, state medical boards, pain advocacy groups and federal agencies involved in oversight of pain management and the prescribing of pain medication. The task force will be responsible for reviewing, modifying and updating best practices, released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for prescribers of pain medication. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced companion legislation that was passed earlier this year as a part of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Brooks’ bill passed 412-4 in the House of Representatives.  

Bucshon introduced H.R. 4981the Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, alongside Paul Tonko (D-NY), which amends the Controlled Substances Act to expand access to medication-assisted opioid addiction treatment, ensures patients have access to a wider range of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment options, and minimizes the potential for drug diversion. The legislation is the product of months of stakeholder engagement, expert input and bipartisan negotiation. It passed the Energy and Commerce Committee and House floor unanimously.

Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, authored two provisions that were included in the comprehensive opioids bill. One provision would require all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities to participate in their respective state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). The other would expand the VA’s use of FDA-approved medical devices and other therapies as alternatives to opioids for treating chronic pain. Both provisions were approved unanimously by the committee as amendments to H.R 4063, the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act, which passed the House unanimously and was included in the amended version of S. 524.

Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks is a second term Republican who represents eight urban, suburban and rural counties in Central Indiana, including the north side of Indianapolis. She uses her background as a Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, a U.S. Attorney and a community college administrator to improve education, jobs, health and homeland security. Through her membership on the Energy and Commerce Committee, she is working on mental health, substance abuse, biodefense and Medicaid reform. As a member of the Ethics Committee, she works with her colleagues to restore confidence in Congress.

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. is a physician and Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee serving his third term representing Indiana's 8th Congressional district. The 8th District of Indiana includes all or parts of Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warrick counties.  

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski is a lifelong Hoosier, born and raised in South Bend, who has dedicated her career to helping Hoosier families. She represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Brooks: Hoosiers are on the front lines of the heroin and opioid epidemic


WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 4641, legislation introduced by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), by a vote of 412 - 4. The bill establishes a task force comprised of people with chronic pain and in recovery, medical providers, hospitals, state medical boards, pain advocacy groups and federal agencies involved in oversight of pain management and the prescribing of pain medication. The task force will be responsible for reviewing, modifying and updating best practices, released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for prescribers of pain medication.

“Four out of five heroin addictions begin with a legal prescription pain medication,” Brooks said. “We must continue to learn more about the science of addiction, and work to change the culture of over-prescription of opioids that currently exists in this country. My legislation will help ensure that prescribers and patients alike have a say in the review and modification of the recently released CDC guidelines, which recommend best practices for prescribing prescription pain medication. We must stem the tide of heroin and opioid abuse, continue to advocate for treatment and care, and prevent more tragic deaths from overdose.”

Including H.R. 4641, the House is scheduled to consider 18 bills this week to help address the heroin and opioid abuse crisis. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a number of hearings this year with testimony from many experts on the frontlines of this epidemic, including Hoosiers Rachelle Gardner, the Chief Operating Officer for the Hope Academy in Indianapolis, Dr. Jerome Adams, the Indiana State Health Commissioner, and Dr. Paul Halverson, the Professor and Founding Dean of Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis. The bills considered by the House this week are bipartisan solutions that address the public health crisis from every angle. From helping babies born addicted to opioids to supporting law enforcement efforts and improving access to life-saving overdose reversal drugs, these bills will help people with addictions, prescribers, law enforcements officers and families address heroin and opioid abuse.

This legislation will help support local efforts already underway in Indiana and around the country. Governor Pence has established the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, and local leaders across the state of Indiana are working to protect Hoosiers from this epidemic, including the Grant County Heroin Task Force in the Fifth District.

“Our work doesn’t end today. Hoosiers from all walks of life are on the front lines of the heroin and opioid epidemic, and we will be facing the after-effects of this crisis for many years to come,” Brooks continued. “Victims of this epidemic are not limited to people struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Increasingly our child welfare systems are overwhelmed with new cases as a result of parents who are consumed by heroin addiction. Our hospitals are seeing more babies born addicted to opioids. Veterans are coming home with severe pain and are experiencing high rates of opioid addiction and abuse. I will continue to be an advocate for all the victims of this crisis, past, present and future, and a partner to those on the front lines of this epidemic.”

More information about H.R. 4641, legislation introduced by Reps. Brooks and Kennedy to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, is available here. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced companion legislation that was passed earlier this year as a part of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

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Brooks Bill to Address Heroin and Opioid Crisis Passes House Energy and Commerce Committee


WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed legislation introduced by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), H.R. 4641, to establish a task force comprised of patients, medical providers, hospitals, state medical boards, pain advocacy groups and federal agencies involved. The task force would be responsible for reviewing and updating best practices for prescribers of pain medication. Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee considered a dozen proposals designed to address the heroin and opioid crisis. These proposals will move on to be considered by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks. 

“We lose 78 Americans each day to opioid overdose,” Brooks said. “We have to act now to stem the tide of opioid abuse in this country, and it starts with giving prescribers, law enforcement, treatment professionals and communities the tools they need to prevent opioid abuse, treat substance abuse and addiction, and prevent illegal drugs from being bought and sold. I’m pleased that the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a dozen proposals today to directly address this crisis, and look forward to swift consideration of these proposals by the full House.”   

Brooks has joined her colleagues in leading efforts to combat the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. A complete list of the bills considered by the Energy and Commerce Committee markup today is available here. Last week, the Health Subcommittee passed H.R. 4641, and Brooks made an opening statement which is available here. More information about H.R. 4641, legislation introduced by Reps. Brooks and Kennedy to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, is available here

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Opioid abuse and chronic pain: Twin epidemics


We are all aware of the serious opioid misuse, abuse, diversion and overdose issue in our country and the devastating effect it is having on communities across the United States.   Consider this alarming statistic – overdoses (>50,000) have now surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of injury-related deaths nationwide.
Less familiar to the public and to policymakers are the millions of Americans suffering from debilitating chronic pain; however, the statistics are just as alarming.  The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has called chronic pain a public health problem of epidemic proportions.  According to the IOM’s Relieving Pain in America report, 1 in 3 Americans suffer from chronic pain; 100 million American suffer from back pain, headaches and arthritis; chronic pain is the number one cause of adult disability and it costs the United States economy more than $600 billion in direct healthcare costs and lost productivity every year.

The opioid epidemic has appropriately caught the attention of the media, policymakers and the public; but unfortunately, we still have a lot of work to do to raise awareness about the chronic pain crisis in America.  As policymakers and healthcare professionals in Washington, DC and across the country grapple with how to address pain management and alternatives to opioid therapies, it is critical to address chronic pain as well. 
Reducing overreliance on opioids for both acute and chronic pain will help reduce the negative consequences of abuse and diversion overall.  I believe a balanced approach to manage pain – providing structured well-thought out policies that focus on interdisciplinary management that preserves access to the full range of medical options with appropriate screening and educational tools in place – is the ideal means by which to reform and revitalize the treatment of chronic pain and reduce opioid prescriptions overall.
As a board-certified, practicing pain physician here in Washington, D.C., I recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. I spoke about caring for patients every day who suffer from severe and debilitating chronic pain, and how every treatment solution should be different and individualized to the needs of that patient.
While opioids can and should be used as one form of pain management, there are many alternative solutions that should be promoted and explored further, including medical devices.  It is important to note that there are numerous FDA-approved, non‐pharmacological, evidence‐based, cost-effective products currently on the market that are often overlooked. Examples of technology that help patients manage chronic pain include spinal cord stimulation, radiofrequency ablation, and implantable drug pumps.
The health care system needs to better understand which treatments are currently available to treat pain, whether or not they have strong evidence for efficacy, and the positive, long‐term impact they have on cost of care and outcomes. Opioids may continue to play a role in helping certain patients manage both acute and chronic pain, but learning about and employing additional treatment options including  medical devices, physical therapy, acupuncture and other alternatives can provide patients with the comprehensive care they need – and possibly reduce the risk of opioid misuse, abuse and overdose overall.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee will mark up several pieces of opioid legislation this week, including HR 4641 sponsored by Representatives Susan Brooks and Joseph Kennedy.  This legislation takes steps to address the challenges associated with chronic pain care, promote best practices and encourage adoption of alternative therapies – including medical technologies – to replace or to augment opioids.  Substance abuse disorders and chronic pain are interrelated public health crises that must be addressed simultaneously and with equality, one without the other is tantamount to worsening each individual crisis.  Passage of the Brooks Kennedy Pain Best Practices bill is an important advancement in addressing these two public health crises. 

Desai, is board certified in Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and President of the International Spine, Pain & Performance Center in Washington, D.C. He is an Instructor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Desai is also the former Director, Pain Medicine & Non-Operative Spine Services at The George Washington University/Medical Faculty Associates.

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Fighting Opioid Abuse Takes All of Us


Today, more people are dying of drug overdoses than car accidents. And you, our local officials, are seeing the statistic become reality in your communities and states. But where does it begin?

Eighty percent of heroin addictions start with a legal pain medication.

I believe that the key to stemming the tide of heroin and opioid abuse, and drug overdose deaths, is to address the issue of over-prescribing pain medication in this country by increasing education and awareness among prescribers and medical providers about the problem. However, I know we can’t do it alone, and as a federal legislator, I know enough to know when I’m not the expert.

Legislation I’ve introduced would bring together every stakeholder involved in this debate, from former addicts and current chronic pain patients, to pharmacists and medical providers, and every federal agency involved in pain management or prescriptions, including the Department of Defense, to develop some guidelines that can be applied by every provider to eliminate unnecessary or excessive prescriptions. My legislation, H.R. 4641, would establish this task force, and require it to regularly review and update prescribing guidelines.

But this alone isn’t a silver bullet.

Millions of Americans are abusing prescription drugs every day, and still more are abusing illegal drugs like heroin. We must beef up our enforcement as a country and I believe we need to strengthen penalties for drug dealers. I also think we should support efforts to make overdose reversal drugs more widely available to first responders.

We must also change the way that we treat addiction and substance abuse. It is a disease and should be treated as such.  There is no one treatment program that will work for every patient – and as legislators, it’s our responsibility to recognize and allow for a variety of effective treatments with proven results in combating the disease of addiction.

Big picture, we must consider the other ripple effects that this crisis has in our communities – and protect against diseases commonly caused by intravenous drug use like HIV and Hepatitis C – as well as better understand how to help babies who are born addicted and children who are victims of this epidemic because of their parent’s addiction.

ALEC has an enormous role to play in this fight. Local partners are on the front lines of this epidemic, and as a member of Congress, I look to my district for guidance and feedback when considering proposals and programs to be implemented nationally.

It is going to take all of us to turn the tide of the heroin and opioid epidemic, and I’m looking forward to discussing the crisis, my legislative proposal, and the Congressional action likely to take place. More importantly, I’m hoping to hear from you about what you are seeing in your communities, and how you think the federal government can support your local efforts effectively. Thank you for the invitation to talk about this important topic, and I look forward to our conversation on April 20th.

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#SubHealth to Vote on Package to Address Opioid and Drug Abuse Epidemic


WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), has announced it will markup 12 bills on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. A number of these bills help address the opioid and drug abuse crisis facing our nation. The markup was first announced on Friday.

The bills being considered are:

H.R.      , Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016 – Authored by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), this legislation would require the Comptroller General of the United States to issue a report to Congress on substance abuse treatment availability and infrastructure needs throughout the United States. This report shall include an evaluation of various substance abuse treatment settings including inpatient, outpatient, and detoxification programs.

H.R.      , the Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act – Authored by committee members Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), this legislation would amend the Controlled Substances Act to expand access to medication-assisted treatment, while ensuring that patients receive the full array of quality evidence-based services and minimizing the potential for drug diversion.

H.R. 1818, the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2015 – Authored by committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), this legislation (which passed the House last Congress) would create a demonstration program to streamline emergency medical technician state requirements and procedures for veterans who have already completed military emergency medical technician training.

H.R. 3250, the DXM Abuse Prevention Act of 2015 – Authored by committee member Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), this legislation would prohibit the sale of a drug containing dextromethorphan (DXM) unless the individual has a prescription or is actively enrolled in the military and place restrictions on distribution of bulk DXM.

H.R. 3680, the Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2015 – Authored by committee member Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), this legislation would create a grant program for co- prescribing of opioid reversal drugs for patients who are at a high risk of overdose.  

H.R. 3691, the Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2015 – Authored by committee member Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM), this legislation would reauthorize a residential treatment program that currently provides numerous services to aide pregnant women or those with young children facing substance abuse.

H.R. 4586, Lali’s Law – Authored by Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), this legislation would amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants to states for developing standing orders for naloxone prescriptions and educating health care professionals regarding the dispensing of opioid overdose reversal medication without person-specific prescriptions.

H.R. 4599, the Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 – Authored by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), this legislation would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to clarify when a prescription for a drug listed on Schedule II of the CSA may be partially filled.

H.R. 4641, to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes – Authored by committee member Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), this legislation would establish an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and how pain medication is prescribed.

H.R. 4969, the John Thomas Decker Act – Authored by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), this legislation would amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the CDC to study what information and resources are available to youth athletes and their families regarding the dangers of opioid use and abuse, non-opioid treatment options, and how to seek addiction treatment. The CDC would then be required to report its findings and work with stakeholders to disseminate resources to students, parents, and those involved in treating a sports related injury

H.R. 4976, the Opioid Review Modernization Act – Authored by Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) and committee member Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), this legislation would require the FDA to work closely with expert advisory committees before making critical product approval and labeling decisions, and to make recommendations regarding education programs for prescribers of extended-release and long-acting opioids.

H.R. 4978, the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act – Authored by Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), this legislation would require the Comptroller General of the United States to issue a report one year after enactment on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

“The Health Subcommittee this week will mark up a series of bills to address the rampant opioid epidemic in America today. We cannot continue to lose our sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews to this preventable outbreak which takes a life every twelve minutes,” said Chairman Pitts. “Over the past year we’ve held numerous hearings to gather testimony about how opioid abuse is treated and how victims can be better helped; now we are ready to put that knowledge into action.”

Electronic copies of the bills can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. A background memorandum, amendments, and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted.

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Speaker Signs Brooks’ Proposal to Find a Cure for Zika Virus


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) signed companion legislation, S. 2512, to a proposal introduced earlier this year by Representatives G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and Susan Brooks (IN-05), H.R. 4400. This bipartisan bill adds Zika virus to the list of diseases included in the Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This legislation will be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The Zika virus, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and can be transmitted sexually, can infect pregnant women and result in birth defects, including microcephaly and neurological disorders in newborns. The virus also causes skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and headaches in adults. This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated at least 30 U.S. states are at risk of Zika virus transmission this spring and summer.

“Our national defense and public health systems are underprepared to meet the challenges of an outbreak like Zika virus, and in fact, we know very little about the virus. Just two weeks ago, we uncovered the structure of the Zika virus thanks to a talented group of researchers at Purdue University. Understanding the structure of a biological threat is a key first step in developing a vaccine or treatment,” Brooks said. “With the passage of this proposal, we can rest assured that nothing will stand in the way of our best minds using the newly discovered structure to inform development, testing and ultimate distribution of a vaccine or therapy for Zika virus.”

The Priority Review Voucher Program was authorized by Congress in 2007 to incentivize the development of treatments, including vaccines and cures, for neglected tropical diseases. Under the program, a company that receives approval for a tropical disease treatment is eligible to receive a voucher that allows the company to receive priority review status for any future product. Products undergoing priority review are generally provided with an approval decision within six months.

“This proposal is a no-cost solution that doesn’t undermine the review process or the safety of a vaccine or therapy,” Brooks continued. “Although I’m pleased that Congress has acted in response to this outbreak, I’m hopeful that my proposal to incentivize cures and treatments for other dangerous and deadly diseases that pose threats to our public health and national security will be considered in the coming months. By acting now to implement proactive solutions, we can better prepare for the next outbreak or epidemic.”

In May 2015, Brazil reported its first case of Zika virus. There have been 346 confirmed cases of Zika virus in the continental United States according to the CDC, all associated with travel. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases anticipates that initial trials for a Zika vaccine could start as early as September of this year, but that distribution of the vaccine is unlikely to occur before the beginning of 2018. The pandemic is so concerning that some governments are urging women to delay pregnancy altogether until a treatment or vaccine is created. 

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) signs S. 2512 in his office in the U.S. Capitol Building as Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) looks on.

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Congress Fights Zika Virus Threat



Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Brooks discuss the importance of confronting the threat of Zika virus in his office in the U.S. Capitol Building.
















This week, Congress acted to fight the threat of the Zika virus in the United States. Today, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) joined Speaker Ryan as he signed bipartisan legislation to accelerate the development of a treatment—and ultimately a cure—for the virus. Rep. Brooks introduced the House version of this legislation.

Congress continues to work to ensure the administration has the tools it needs to combat this public health crisis.






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Brooks Bill to Improve Readiness for Biological Threats Examined by House Health Subcommittee

2016-05-19 15:26:36

Rep. Brooks Opening Remarks on Bills to Address the Heroin and Opioid Crisis

2016-05-13 18:52:44

Rep. Brooks Speaks About the Heroin and Opioid Crisis with House GOP Leadership

2016-05-11 18:38:15

Rep. Brooks speaks about efforts to address the heroin and opioid abuse crisis

2016-04-20 19:38:21

Rep. Brooks speaks in honor of Women's History Month

2016-03-30 19:15:19

Rep. Brooks speaks in honor of Howard County Sheriff's Deputy Carl Koontz

2016-03-22 21:18:58

Rep. Brooks Tribute to Coach Jim Belden

2016-03-03 15:24:40

Rep. Brooks Speaks about the Syrian Crisis

2016-03-03 14:44:09

Rep. Brooks Speaks about the Mental Health Crisis and Legislative Solutions

2016-02-25 23:47:30

Outbreaks, Attacks, and Accidents: Combating Biological Threats

2016-02-12 16:52:40

Rep. Brooks Honors the Heroism and Service of Principal Susan Jordan

2016-02-11 18:02:07

Rep. Susan Brooks Speaks During Computer Science Education Week

2016-01-26 22:19:33

Rep. Susan Brooks joins fellow Members of Congress to Roll-Out the Women 2 Women Agenda

2016-01-26 22:17:01

Brooks: EPA Clean Power Plan Means Lost Jobs

2015-12-01 20:28:04

Rep. Brooks: Redouble our Efforts to Destroy ISIS

2015-11-17 18:13:26

Rep. Brooks Speaks in Support of S. 599, the Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act

2015-11-16 23:11:08

Rep. Brooks Speaks in Honor of Speaker Boehner

2015-11-04 15:40:38

Rep. Brooks Speaks in Support of HR 623 DHS Social Media Improvement Act

2015-11-04 15:36:09

Rep. Brooks Floor Speech: Iran Nuclear Deal

2015-09-11 16:37:30

Law Enforcement Special Order Floor Speech

2015-09-09 22:16:34

Contact Information

1505 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2276
Fax 202-225-0016

Congresswoman Susan Brooks represents the 5th District of Indiana, which spans eight diverse counties throughout the central part of the Hoosier State. As a new member of Congress, she currently serves on the Education and Workforce, Homeland Security and Ethics Committees. She is also the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.

Her strong background in both the public and private sectors includes experience as a proven difference maker in areas such as public safety, homeland security, counter-terrorism and economic development.

Before joining the House of Representatives, Susan served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Ivy Tech Community College. Collaborating with a wide network or stakeholders, she implemented workforce development strategies aiming to enhance job training and placement for thousands of Hoosier residents.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Susan as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Serving as the chief federal law enforcement officer for a majority of the Hoosier state, she received bi-partisan acclaim for efforts to battle mortgage fraud, gun violence, drug trafficking, gangs, child exploitation and identity theft.

Susan also earned recognition as Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis during the Steve Goldsmith administration, where she provided oversight on public safety operations and drove community dialogue on vital civic issues. Over her tenure, she managed police, fire and emergency response efforts while serving on boards related to criminal justice, community corrections, violence reduction and race relations.

Susan practiced law at the Indianapolis firm of Ice Miller and also served as a criminal defense attorney for Indianapolis based McClure, McClure and Kammen.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, Susan pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In May of 2013, Susan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Marian University in Indianapolis. She resides in Carmel, Indiana with her husband David and they have two young adult children.

Serving With

Jackie Walorski


Marlin Stutzman


Todd Rokita


Luke Messer


Larry Bucshon


Todd Young


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