CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 5997, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The bill was introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) on June 21, 2012, and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.
H.R. 5997 would authorize the use of Urban Area Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Grant Program funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities. Under the bill, the grants could be used for the development and maintenance of an initial pharmaceutical stockpile, including medical kits, and diagnostics sufficient to protect first responders, their families, and immediate victims from a chemical or biological event.
According to the bill’s sponsor, the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) provides funding to state and local governments to assist in preparing for and responding to mass casualty incidents resulting from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other public health emergencies. The grants help local jurisdictions develop response plans, conduct exercises and training, and acquire medical countermeasures and protective equipment for dealing with large scale biological events.
As a stand-alone program, MMRS has not been reauthorized or appropriated funds in recent years. H.R. 5997 would authorize the use of Urban Area Security Initiatives (UASI) and State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) funding for enhancing medical preparedness, in effect, making the activities of the MMRS program an allowable use for jurisdictions under the UASI and SHSGP.
A CBO score of H.R. 5997 was not available as of press time.