Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 3, 2006

CRS looks at medical-related disaster response

Filed under: Preparedness and Response — by Christian Beckner on August 3, 2006

Another new taxpayer-funded Congressional Research Service report:

RL33579: The Public Health and Medical Response to Disasters: Federal Authority and Funding, July 28, 2006

The synopsis of the report:

This report examines (1) the statutory authorities and coordinating mechanisms of the President (acting through the Secretary of Homeland Security) and the Secretary of HHS in providing routine assistance, and in providing assistance pursuant to emergency or major disaster declarations and/or public health emergency determinations; (2) mechanisms to assure a coordinated federal response to public health and medical emergencies, and overlaps or gaps in agency responsibilities; and (3) existing mechanisms and potential gaps in financing the costs of a response to public health and medical emergencies.

The full Homeland Security Watch collection of CRS reports is available here.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 3, 2006 @ 2:41 am

This is an excellent report. Briefly, it justifys recalling the House from recess to immediately resolve some of the hundreds of key health and biterrorism and pandemic response issues. First of all it demonstrates without question that HHS has inadequate and authority for an actual response. Second, it again demonstrates that FEMA (whatever it is now called) refuses to provide essential information to Congress about deficiencies actual or otherwise in emergency preparedness and response authorities. There is meat in this report for an immediate high level sit down between the Attorney General, Secreatary DHS, and Secretary HHS to determine whether they agree or disagree with the findings in this report and so notify Congress of the result. It should be done NOW, not next week. Let the Executive Branch leadership cancel their vacations and campaigns and get this fixed. While most of the information in this report is not really new, congrats to Sara Lister and CRS for pulling it all together. By the way who is the final interpreter of HHS authority under E.O. 12919 which is one authority overlooked by CRS. That EO was published in June 1994 and badly needs updating. Congress was given a report on needed changes in 1996 but has done nothing. FEMA has submitted changes to OMB several times but still no action. Don’t these people realize it is really August 3, 1914 not 2006.

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