National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 22, 2021
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Alabama for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to express concerns with the Thompson amendment No. 427. The amendment requires the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, to establish a medical countermeasures program for preparedness and response capabilities. It also requires DHS to maintain and pre- position a stockpile of medical countermeasures.

After dealing with the ongoing pandemic for the past year and a half, we can all appreciate the necessity of being prepared to deal with these threats. However, this new program is completely duplicative of existing initiatives at HHS.

Currently, under HHS, the Strategic National Stockpile, or SNS, is part of the Federal medical response infrastructure for such attacks. The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise determines optimal allocation of resources and organization of the stockpile to best address high-priority threats.

This interagency coordination already includes the input of the Department of Homeland Security and coordinates Federal efforts to combat these threats. While I do believe we should evaluate our country's pandemic response given the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not need to create a duplicative program that will only lead to confusion and hinder coordination.