WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security today issued the following statement regarding the emerging H1N1 influenza.
“The emergence of swine flu in the United States reminds us how quickly and easily a bio incident can spread across countries. It also calls in to question how prepared we are to deal with a large scale outbreak. I have been working actively in Congress with the Homeland Security Committee to prepare America for a biological attack or incident. We have made significant progress implementing Project Bioshield, creating the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza and increasing America’s supply of antivirals, but much work remains. I will continue working closely with the Homeland Security Committee and the administration to monitor the spread of swine flu and ensure that our supply of antivirals is adequate and available to medical professionals and other at-risk populations.”
Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, Pascrell was selected by House leadership to work on a homeland security task force towards the creation of a comprehensive framework for new chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) countermeasures. Project Bioshield, which was signed into law, provides the federal government with expedited procedures for CBRN spending including procuring products, hiring experts, and awarding research grants.
In July of 2008 Pascrell traveled to a Congressional field hearing in Rhode Island to address emerging biological threats and public health preparedness with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security.