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house Bill H.R. 437

Do U.S. Medical Facilities Need Better Plans For Large-Scale Chemical Or Biological Emergencies?

Argument in favor

The U.S. medical system needs to be able to respond rapidly to a chemical or biological attack. Creating a pharmaceutical stockpile, and protecting healthcare workers will be essential for stopping an epidemic.

Emily's Opinion
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01/30/2017
You should edit the bill to guarantee the funds go to the medical facilities, then vote yes.
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ShePersisted's Opinion
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02/04/2017
its a start. no law is perfect. we have to start somewhere and we have to start now. failure to plan is a plan to fail. lets pass this one and then revise it and keep revising it as needed. dont stop a good idea because its not good enough. keep the ball moving.
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Katie's Opinion
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01/31/2017
This bill needs to have more oversight written in but overall the country is not prepared for mass medical emergency or attack and this is a good start.
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Argument opposed

This bill does not outline any oversight to ensure that the grant funding is actually used for preparing medical facilities and personnel for a national disaster.

AliceC's Opinion
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01/30/2017
As a public health professional, I know there are HUNDREDS of other health issues that are 100% plaguing the US! While disaster may be more likely under the new administration, problems like disparities in health and shortages of nurses in hospitals are affecting us RIGHT NOW. For one, lack of doctors and nurses and reduces the staff's ability to work effectively. Plus, no oversight means the money won't be allocated to carry out its intended purpose, unfortunately.
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Ethan's Opinion
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01/30/2017
I would fully support this bill if anywhere in the bill it was laid out what the money can and cannot be used for. Since that is not stated I can't support this.
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Gregthewhite's Opinion
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01/30/2017
While I believe better plans for medical emergencies are necessary for national security and general preparedness for emergency, I cannot stand behind a bill with no plans for oversight.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed January 31st, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 11th, 2017

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    You should edit the bill to guarantee the funds go to the medical facilities, then vote yes.
    Like (37)
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    As a public health professional, I know there are HUNDREDS of other health issues that are 100% plaguing the US! While disaster may be more likely under the new administration, problems like disparities in health and shortages of nurses in hospitals are affecting us RIGHT NOW. For one, lack of doctors and nurses and reduces the staff's ability to work effectively. Plus, no oversight means the money won't be allocated to carry out its intended purpose, unfortunately.
    Like (266)
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    I would fully support this bill if anywhere in the bill it was laid out what the money can and cannot be used for. Since that is not stated I can't support this.
    Like (92)
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    While I believe better plans for medical emergencies are necessary for national security and general preparedness for emergency, I cannot stand behind a bill with no plans for oversight.
    Like (63)
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    The intent is right, but the planning and thought around this bill needs more work.
    Like (31)
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    Revamp this to include oversight, first responder training, and public education components...and I'll consider it.
    Like (28)
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    No oversight and no transparency = no passing bill
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    Definitely would support a better bill to address this concern.
    Like (10)
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    its a start. no law is perfect. we have to start somewhere and we have to start now. failure to plan is a plan to fail. lets pass this one and then revise it and keep revising it as needed. dont stop a good idea because its not good enough. keep the ball moving.
    Like (10)
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    This bill needs to have more oversight written in but overall the country is not prepared for mass medical emergency or attack and this is a good start.
    Like (7)
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    I understand the need but with no oversight I do not support this. More transparency and you have my support.
    Like (6)
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    Without any estimation of cost or plans for oversight, this is irresponsible. Please rewrite and resubmit as I feel it is an important issue in an age where disease can spread rapidly
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    Ensuring funding is actually used for what it is earmarked for is imperative! I would support this Bill if it specifically outlined oversight and a set of requirements for the facilities to meet with the grant money.
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    H.R. 437 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to codify authority under existing grant guidance authorizing the use of Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities. This includes the development and maintenance of an initial pharmaceutical stockpile, including medical kits and diagnostics sufficient to protect first responders and their families, immediate victims, and vulnerable populations from a chemical or biological event. Through hearings and briefings since the 112th and 113th, the Committee on Homeland Security has received information from federal, state, and local stakeholders about the importance of medical preparedness.[1] This legislation ensures that UASI and SHSGP funds are available for medical preparedness uses. In the 114th Congress [2 years ago], similar legislation (H.R. 361) passed by a vote of 377-2. [Apparently, the Senate didn't do anything with the previous bill, so I'm wondering what chance it has this go-around....] https://policy.house.gov/legislative/bills/hr-437-medical-preparedness-allowable-use-act I would just like to add that this kind of preparedness would be critical if we were first crippled by an EMP!
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    We need to be more prepared for an eventual attack or accident. We need to be proactive and not reactive.
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    This bill does not outline any oversight to ensure that the grant funding is actually used for preparing medical facilities and personnel for a national disaster.
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    Alarming: "This bill does not outline any oversight to ensure that the grant funding is actually used for preparing medical facilities and personnel for a national disaster."
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    If ebola & zika has taught us anything, it's that our medical emergency response infrastructure is not enough to protect multiple population centers (at the same time). If big pharma or medical facilities aren't going to take care of this (which they should), then we need to allocate resources to protect the military & our families.
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    Upon reading this question, I'm thinking Of Course They Do. I believe FEMA has had a function in national disasters, including biological and chemical interventions. How great? Im not sure. Much of what may happen will be locally and spreading from a point of conception. I feel confident collaboration and communication will occur during or the nation will demand heads to roll.
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    There is no doubt we should be prepared but no details on cost impact and oversight leaves me having to say no - go back and beef this up.
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