The first priority of the federal government is the security of our nation and the safety of our citizens. In recent months, terrorist attacks have struck countries around the world, and right here in the United States. We must take steps now to improve our counterterrorism efforts, to enhance our screening processes, and to give law enforcement and intelligence communities with the tools they need to prevent terrorist attacks and the radicalization of Americans here at home. That’s why I supported H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, to close gaps in our screening processes and keep our country safer from terrorist cells such as ISIS.
In addition to providing for our national defense, we must prepare for other threats like biological weapons, epidemics and outbreaks, and natural disasters. I have lead efforts in Congress to strengthen our national biodefense capabilities. Biodefense is our readiness for and protections against biological threats like Ebola, anthrax and other dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens.
H.R. 3299, the Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act, expands the Priority Review Voucher program for material threats to our national security identified by the Department of Homeland Security. Expanding the program incentivizes the development, testing and distribution of vaccines and treatments for dangerous diseases. Ensuring faster development of critical medical countermeasures like vaccines and treatments, and eliminating bureaucratic red tape, this bill is a good step forward to improve our national security and to better protect the health of every American.
Our national readiness and biodefense capabilities must be improved. The threat to our national security posed by dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens, like Ebola or anthrax, is constant and cannot be underestimated. Given reports that ISIS and other terrorist groups are pursuing chemical and biological weapons, we must act now to prepare ourselves for the challenges that these kinds of weapons pose to our collective health and national security.