Sending Office: Bera, Ami
Sent By:
Ryan.Uyehara@mail.house.gov

Current Signers: Engel, Holmes Norton, Speier, Danny Davis, Sewell, Moore, Lee, Sires, Carbajal, Cohen, Khanna, Vela, Clark

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in supporting U.S. efforts to monitor, detect, and respond to emerging pandemic threats before they reach our shores.

As you know, in 2014, Congress appropriated $5 billion in funding to respond to the Ebola emergency. Approximately $1 billion was allocated to the CDC and USAID to help nations
prepare for and respond to future epidemics. These funds are used to train frontline healthworkers, establish disease surveillance networks, and build emergency operations centers. According to news
reports
, that money is now on the verge of running out, threatening current efforts by the CDC and USAID, which are far from over.

This letter would support funding to sustain these activities at their current level. We have made significant progress in helping nations develop their health infrastructure so that they’re prepared for the next epidemic. Withdrawing these funds would increase
the likelihood that the U.S. would again have to spend billions of dollars responding to the next epidemic and put our country at risk.  

Please join us in asking appropriators to fund our global health security efforts in FY 2019. If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Uyehara with Congressman Bera’s office at Ryan.Uyehara@mail.house.govThe
deadline to sign is COB March 14, 2018.

Sincerely,

Ami Bera, M.D.                            

Member of Congress

 

Rick Larsen

Member of Congress

 

The Honorable Tom Cole                                            The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education,                Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education

and Related Agencies                                                 and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives

 

The Honorable Hal Rogers                                         The Honorable Nita Lowey

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations,             Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations,

And Related Programs                                               And Related Programs

U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives

 

Dear Chairmen Cole and Rogers and Ranking Members DeLauro and Lowey,

We write to urge you to fully fund HHS, CDC and USAID activities that monitor, detect, and respond to pandemic threats before they reach our shores.

As you know, in 2014, Congress appropriated over $5 billion in emergency funding to respond to the Ebola epidemic that killed over 11,000 individuals worldwide. Approximately $1 billion was allocated to the CDC and USAID to help developing countries prepare
for and respond to future epidemics. According to news reports, these funds are about to run out, even as the work is far from over. The CDC is slated to end its work in 39 out of the 49 countries it operates in, while USAID may wind down half of their operations
in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. 

We need to ensure that before we start withdrawing from these countries, they have the capacity and know how to effectively detect, contain, and handle infectious disease outbreaks. This should be a gradual and rational process, not a sudden drawdown. Ensuring
that USAID and agencies across HHS can undertake this transition is critical to keeping America safe.

USAID plays an important role as their mission is to build capacity among our allies and friends to stop diseases from spreading around the world. USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT program assists countries in detecting and dealing with emerging
diseases. Nearly 75% of new or emerging diseases that affect humans originate in animals, including influenza, HIV/AIDs, SARS, and Ebola. By strengthening country capacity at all levels to deal with these kinds of diseases, USAID plays a critical part in preventing
diseases from spreading to humans.

This work has already had a tremendous impact. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the USAID Pandemic Threats program has helped the country respond to Ebola outbreaks within days, compared to months as occurred in the West Africa outbreak. In Cameroon,
the CDC helped the government reduce its response time in stopping outbreaks from eight weeks to just 24 hours.  The 2014 emergency funding allowed these programs to help build surveillance systems in host countries from scratch by training frontline health
workers, laboratory technicians, and disease detectives in the monitoring, detection, and attack of dangerous new diseases, while also upgrading outdated laboratories. But their work is far from over.

Reducing funding now would halt efforts there and across the world. In our interconnected world, a pathogen can leap from a remote village to a major international city in the US in less than 48 hours. Capable and quick response nearest to its source is
critical. As one public health expert noted, withdrawing funding now would be like building a fire station without the trained firefighters. The costs of an outbreak would be extremely high, as our expensive response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak showed. In addition
to the emergency supplemental funding passed by Congress, the United States committed some 3000 servicemembers to help contain that outbreak.

To prevent another outbreak and to continue CDC and USAID’s current activities, we therefore request $172.5 million for USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats account and $208.2 million for CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection account.

As members of Congress, we have no higher duty than ensuring the safety of our fellow Americans. We thank you in advance for considering our request and your help in advancing this solemn duty.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Foreign Affairs, HealthCare, Homeland Security

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