Saturday, January 21, 2017

HR 437 Introduced – Medical Preparedness Grants

Last week Rep. Bilirakus (R,FL) introduced HR 437, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act. The bill would allow medical preparedness programs to be funded under two separate homeland security grant programs. The bill is virtually identical to HR 361 from the 114th Congress. That bill passed in the House but was never taken up in the Senate.

The medical preparedness grants would be authorized for programs to “to protect first responders, their families, immediate victims, and vulnerable populations from a chemical or biological event”. Because the word ‘event’ is not defined, the bill would only authorize grants for programs related to “preventing, preparing for, protecting against, and responding to acts of terrorism” {existing 6 USC 609(a)}, not accidental or weather related chemical releases.

As with last session’s bill, no additional funding would be authorized for the medical preparedness grants. This means that funds for medical preparedness would effectively be taken away from existing grant monies under the Urban Area Security Initiative and the State Homeland Security Grant Program.

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