HR 361, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, was introduced by Rep. Bilirakis (RFL). It would add medical preparedness as one of the areas that various homeland security grant programs could be used to fund. I missed this bill when it was first introduced on January 14th because of the wording of the title that was initially used.
The bill amends 6 USC 609 by adding §609(a)(10). It adds to the list of allowable uses of Urban Area Security Initiative (§604) and State Homeland Security Grants (§605). It specifically allows for the use of these funds for the purpose of “enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities, including the development and maintenance of an initial pharmaceutical stockpile, including medical kits, and diagnostics sufficient to protect first responders, their families, immediate victims, and vulnerable populations from a chemical or biological event”.
No additional funding is provided for grants under this addition. That means that this is a motherhood and apple pie bill that will almost certainly pass if it makes it to the floor of the House and Senate. It is currently scheduled for a House floor vote on Monday under suspension of the rules.