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Securing America From Epidemics Act

Floor Speech

By: Ted Yoho
By: Ted Yoho
Date: Nov. 18, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Securing America from Epidemics Act.

I want to thank my colleague, Congressman Dr. Bera, for introducing this bill--and I co-introduced it--for his work to address this important issue.

COVID-19 has shown that pandemics know no borders and that the United States must be prepared to respond to disease outbreaks around the world. This bill authorizes the United States to participate in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, an alliance of countries and private partners that are financing and coordinating the development of new vaccines for infectious diseases. These are the emerging diseases that they are studying so that we are prepared for them.

In addition to COVID-19, CEPI has developed a list of priority diseases with epidemic potential, including viruses that cause Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS. By leveraging contributions from member states with expertise and funding by private partners, CEPI seeks to develop vaccines before the disease outbreak occurs.

CEPI estimates that COVID-19 could cost the global economy $4.1 trillion, or close to 5 percent of global GDP.

Of course, the impact of viruses like COVID-19 is not just measured in the disruption of economic stability in nations around the world, but also, unfortunately, in the lives lost.

Developing vaccines and treatments for emerging infectious diseases is not just an issue of individual health but of national security. Our committee has worked together on many pieces of legislation in response to COVID-19. The SAFE Act is another example of this bipartisan effort.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues who believe we must do all we can to prevent another pandemic like COVID-19 from emerging in the future to support this legislation, as it is a critical component to that effort.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I once again thank Representative Bera for his work on this important legislation. The U.S. international community and the private sector must continue to work together to develop the tools we need in response to emerging infectious diseases.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support this legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.