Chair Rodgers: America Must be Ready to Respond to All Public Health Threats

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee legislative hearing titled “Legislative Solutions to Bolster Preparedness and Response for All Hazards and Public Health Security Threats.”

Excerpts and highlights below:


“Today we are considering several pieces of legislation critical to our national public health security. This conversation could not come at a more pressing or relevant time.

“America is facing public health security threats on many fronts.

“For example, a recent State Department report confirmed North Korea continues to develop genetically engineered biological weapons, including bacteria, viruses and toxins.

“According to one report, nearly 60 million patient records were compromised last year through over 900 data breach incidents.

“And we continue to learn lessons from the unprecedented COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.

“We must be prepared for and ready to respond to these threats—chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or cyberattack—by taking an all-hazards and threat-agnostic approach.

“That is the focus of the solutions we are considering today that Mr. Guthrie discussed in detail.”


“I understand some of my Democratic colleagues are upset we are not considering legislation today related to drug shortages and larger supply chain issues.

“I will say to them—I welcome that discussion.

“Just last week, the FDA announced that more than 130 drugs were in short supply, 14 of which are cancer treatments.

“Clearly, this must be addressed.

“A few weeks ago, the Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on this exact topic.

“And just yesterday, Senate Finance Ranking Member Crapo and I released a public Request for Information to solicit information and ideas on the underlying economic causes of drug shortages, the potential role of federal programs in contributing to drug shortage, and possible solutions.

“Finding solutions for drug shortages are broader than this reauthorization and FDA, and outside the scope of this preparedness reauthorization.

“I welcome my Democratic colleagues to work with us in this effort and remind them that the focus of today’s legislative hearing is on ensuring we reauthorize immediate preparedness and response programs.


“For many of these threats—from catastrophic natural disaster to a biological threat to cyberattack, the question is not if, but when.

“I thank the many members for their hard work on the reforms we are considering today.

“I am especially appreciative of Congressman Hudson’s leadership to provide the framework for these discussions and commend him and his team for all their hard work.”