FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steve Aaron
U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY INTRODUCES BILL DIRECTING
REVIEW OF COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS
AND PANDEMIC PLANS
Commission to Hold Virtual Meeting May 8 to Better Understand
Ongoing Response to COVID-19
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2020) – The Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill to establish a National Commission regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill (H.R. 6455) would require the newly established commission to, “review and evaluate recommendations and pandemic plans issued by the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense and other nonpartisan entities regarding health security, pandemic preparedness, response, or recovery.”
“Our Commission stands ready to inform the work of this and other proposed commissions and to provide our findings and recommendations to all congressional oversight activities. We appreciate the Committee’s recognition of the importance and value of our work,” said Commission Executive Director Dr. Asha M. George. “The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense has done exhaustive research and made detailed recommendations to Congress and the Administration that addressed biological events – including naturally occurring biological events that affect our national security, like the COVID-19 pandemic – in our 2015 National Blueprint for Biodefense. Congress does not need to start from scratch when determining what happened with COVID-19.”
Dr. George noted that the Commission is set to host a virtual meeting entitled, COVID-19: Forewarned But Not Forearmed, to better understand the ongoing response to the novel coronavirus, national readiness to address large-scale spread of the disease in the U.S. and throughout the world; and implications for strengthening our defense against the next, inevitable, biological threat. The meeting will be held virtually on May 8 beginning at 2pm. Information and registration information will be made available on the Commission website, https://biodefensecommission.org/events/covid-19-forewarned-but-not-forearmed-2/.
About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Commission’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps, and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial support. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.