CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, July 27, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 1300, the First Responder Anthrax Preparedness Act, as amended, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 1300 was introduced on March 4, 2015, by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, and in addition, to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The Committee on Homeland Security ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on May 20, 2015.
H.R. 1300 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to make anthrax vaccines from the Strategic National Stockpile available to first responders who volunteer to receive them. Specifically, the bill:
An anthrax attack is considered a serious mass casualty threat. In 2001, anthrax spores were mailed to the offices of several news media outlets and two U.S. Senators, killing 5 people and infecting 17 others. This led to an eight-year investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and millions of dollars spent on cleanup of the Capitol Complex. Pre-event vaccination is a safe and effective way to provide protection to first responders who are responsible for responding to an anthrax attack. Pre-vaccinated responders could be deployed immediately and confidently in the event of an attack without the fear of contracting the disease. The first responder community has previously requested this capability.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have collaborated on the development of a pilot program to provide surplus pre-event anthrax vaccines from the Strategic National Stockpile to first responders. This legislation authorizes such a program.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R. 1300 would cost approximately $4 million over the 2016 to 2020 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting H.R. 1300 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.