On March 15, 2022, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held a full committee markup to offer several amendments and vote on S. 3799, the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act). The committee voted to report the bill as amended to the floor by a vote of 20-2, with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Braun (R-IN) voting against the bill. The bill that passed includes eight of the amendments that were offered and passed by the Committee, including amendments from Senators Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Additionally, the Committee adopted a managers’ amendment that incorporates the newly-introduced bipartisan bill S.3819, the ARPA-H Act. As Chairwoman Murray stated in her opening testimony, after nearly a year of work, this bill includes ideas from 41 bills and 35 different members on both sides of the aisle. The bill will now head to the full Senate for floor consideration this year. Amendments to the original bill text include:
The PREVENT Pandemics Act was released earlier this year as draft legislation by Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), as the authors sought input from colleagues, state, local, and tribal health experts and other stakeholders to proposed changes and additional recommendations. You can read the original draft text here.
Of importance and among other provisions, this legislation:
Senators Murray and Burr expect the legislation to progress this year. Several other biomedical innovation and pandemic preparedness bills have been released, including, the “Tracking Pathogens Act,” introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Cures 2.0 (H.R. 6000), introduced by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI); and the Advanced Research Project Agency – Health Act (H.R. 5585), introduced by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA). The PREVENT Pandemics Act is likely to be the vehicle for these and other measures.
Stakeholders interested seeking additional information on the PREVENT Pandemics Act or related measures, should contact Jennifer Walsh, Director of Public Affairs with Foley & Lardner at email@example.com or (202) 295-4762.
Sources: Senate Press Release and PDF