Democratic Chair of Emergency Preparedness and Response Panel Comments on Bioterror Protection Bill Signing by Bush
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J., 8th), Chair of the House Democratic Homeland Security Task Force's Emergency Preparedness and Response working group, issued the following statement regarding today's signing into law of H.R. 3448, the "Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002" by President Bush. Pascrell, a former Mayor of New Jersey's third-largest city of Paterson, led the House Democrats in pursuing funding for bioterrorism preparedness in the wake of September 11th and the Anthrax cases that struck New Jersey and the nation.
"Being even one step behind in our preparedness for a bioterror attack could have devastating consequences, and thus being caught unprepared is not an option. The anthrax attacks last fall were a wake up call and a warning that demanded we do a better job of readying our communities to prevent and respond to such attacks. This bill moves us significantly in that direction.
This bill will strengthen our inspections of food supplies, strengthen the links between health care providers and public health entities, and enhance the ability of our health care system to identify an attack and respond quickly to prevent a crisis.
There is no Republican or Democratic way to protect our citizens from a bioterror attack. We have listened to the needs of those on the front lines and tried to respond by providing resources to meet those needs.
This bill says to our nurses, our police and first responders, our emergency coordinators, that the federal government understands that mere lip service will not get this done."