Sending Office: Honorable Gerald E. Connolly
Endorsements: ChildFund International, Global Health Council, International Medical Corps, IntraHealth International, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Nuclear Threat Initiative, PATH, the American Society of the Tropical Medicine
and Hygiene, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and The Borgen Project.
The new coronavirus out of Wuhan, China is a crisis in its own right. With more than 31,000 infected in more than two dozen countries and more than 630 fatalities so far, officials expect the already grave situation to worsen. But this crisis is also a warning.
We are only one new or mutated disease away from a global health catastrophe. The United States must lead the way in preparing the world for such an outbreak.
That is why we introduced the bipartisan Global Health Security Act (H.R. 2166) in order to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to promoting global health security.
One of the critical lessons learned during the Ebola response was the need for a permanent designated official responsible for coordinating the interagency response to a global health security emergency. The primary recommendation of a recent CSIS report
on Strengthening America’s Health Security is to restore health security leadership at the White House National Security Council by naming “a senior-level leader in charge of coordinating U.S. efforts to anticipate, prevent, and respond to biological crises.”
Our bill would do just that.
The Global Health Security Act codifies U.S. investments in the ability to prepare for and respond to public health threats and reduce or prevent their spread across borders. This bill bolsters U.S. commitments under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA),
which is a multilateral initiative to build countries’ capacity to manage infectious disease threats and elevate heath security as a global priority. The bill requires a whole-of-government strategy for global health security and annual reporting to Congress.
Republican and Democratic presidents alike have recognized the critical importance of global health security – from President Obama’s role in launching the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to President Trump’s National Security Strategy and National
Biodefense Strategy. In February 2018, then Director of National Intelligence, Daniel R. Coats, released the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, which said “The increase in frequency and diversity of reported disease outbreaks—such
as dengue and Zika—probably will continue through 2018, including the potential for a severe global health emergency that could lead to major economic and societal disruptions, strain governmental and international resources, and increase calls on the United
States for support.”
Whether it is the present Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the unfolding coronavirus in China, or the next epidemic, it is clear that these threats are ongoing and increasing. Saving lives from the next global pandemic starts with
investing in preparedness before it strikes. As we’ve seen time and time again, diseases do not respect borders, and global health crises have immense security, economic, and humanitarian consequences. Our Global Health Security Act recognizes the critical
role of U.S. leadership in international health security, enshrines U.S. global health security policy in statute, and ensures that there is a permanent designated official responsible for coordinating these efforts in a strategic way. If you would like to
join us as a cosponsor of the Global Health Security Act, please email Molly Cole with Mr. Connolly at
Molly.Cole@mail.house.gov or Mark Erste with Mr. Chabot at
Gerald E. Connolly Steve Chabot
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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