02.03.15

House Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Emergency Preparedness

Media Contact: Lauren Claffey; April Ward (202) 226-8477

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 361, H.R. 623 and H.R. 615 – legislation to enhance medical preparedness, improve interoperable communications, and authorize and bolster the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Social Media Working Group.

Chairman McCaul: “Each day, our first responders and law enforcement officers save lives and enhance the overall resiliency this country. They play a critical role in our nation’s ability to react quickly, whether it be to a terrorist attack or natural disaster. By supporting their efforts, the bipartisan bills passed today will further strengthen our nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to such emergency events. I commend my House colleagues for moving these important pieces of legislation and urge the Senate to take action as well.”

The House passed the following bills:

H.R. 361, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R- Fla., to codify authority under existing grant guidance authorizing use of Urban Area Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Grant Program funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities. The bill passed the House by a vote of 377-2.

H.R. 623, the Social Media Working Group Act, introduced by Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the Department of Homeland Security to establish a social media working group. The bill passed the House by a vote of 328-51.

H.R. 615, the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act, introduced by Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security to take administrative action to achieve and maintain interoperable communications capabilities among the components of the Department of Homeland Security. The bill passed the House by a vote of 379-0.

###