Federal Grants Bring New Cash to Local Emergency-Response Efforts

Police officers practice subduing an individual playing the part of an anthrax victim as part of a bioterrorism drill in Tuscon, Ariz., in 2002. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department is awarding $840 million in new grants to benefit state and local emergency-response programs.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
July 2, 2014, 8:35 a.m.

State and loc­al ef­forts to im­prove pub­lic-health re­sponses to a po­ten­tial un­con­ven­tion­al at­tack on U.S. soil are get­ting an­oth­er in­fu­sion of fed­er­al fund­ing.

The U.S. Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment an­nounced on Tues­day that it was award­ing more than $840 mil­lion in fisc­al 2014 grants to state and com­munity pub­lic-health pro­grams that could be called on in the event of a nat­ur­ally oc­cur­ring dis­ease epi­dem­ic, or a bio­lo­gic­al, chem­ic­al or nuc­le­ar at­tack.

“Com­munity and state pre­pared­ness is es­sen­tial to the health se­cur­ity of all Amer­ic­ans,” Nicole Lurie, HHS as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for pre­pared­ness and re­sponse, said in provided re­marks. “Events in the last few years have demon­strated how crit­ic­al it is for health sys­tems across the coun­try to be ready and able to re­spond quickly and ef­fect­ively.”

The grants are be­ing dis­persed through two dif­fer­ent pro­grams: the Pub­lic Health Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness ini­ti­at­ive, which sup­ports ef­forts by labor­at­or­ies and re­search­ers to con­tain dis­ease out­breaks, and the Hos­pit­al Pre­pared­ness Pro­gram, which works to im­prove co­ordin­a­tion among dif­fer­ent med­ic­al cen­ters for re­spond­ing to pos­sible large-scale emer­gen­cies.

The hos­pit­al-read­i­ness ef­fort is get­ting $228.5 mil­lion for the cur­rent fisc­al year. In com­par­is­on, the ini­ti­at­ive re­ceived $332 mil­lion in fisc­al 2013 and $352 mil­lion in fisc­al 2012, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­port­ing. The Pub­lic Health Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness pro­gram is to re­ceive nearly $612 mil­lion in fisc­al 2014. That com­pares to $584 mil­lion in fisc­al 2013 and $619 mil­lion in fisc­al 2012.

What We're Following See More »
Trump and Clinton Equally Disliked
11 minutes ago

According to the most recent Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally disliked. The poll, conducted between July 18 and July 25, shows both major party candidates for president are viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 58 percent of respondents. This poll is bad news for Clinton, who has received better favorable and unfavorable ratings in nearly every poll over the last year.

Pence: “Serious Consequences” if Russia Hacked DNC
53 minutes ago

The same day that Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack the State Department and "find the 30,000 emails that are missing," the GOP nominee for vice president took a more serious approach. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences," Pence said in a statement. Trump's comments at a press conference this morning were rebuked by individuals across the political spectrum, while some on Trump's team, including prominent surrogate Newt Gingrich, have called his comments a "joke."

Fed Leaves Rates Alone, but Signals Hikes to Come
2 hours ago

The Federal Open Market Committee today voted to leave interest rates alone, but "upgraded its assessment of the economy’s recent performance and said near-term risks to the outlook have diminished, effectively leaving the door open to raise rates later this year, possibly as early as September."

Pence Is Trump’s Man on Capitol Hill
4 hours ago

"Spurred by VP pick Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to many lawmakers, the Trump campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its courtship of wary Capitol Hill Republicans. And the efforts appear to be bearing fruit." Central to the charm offensive: invitations to more than a dozen "Senate and House members into his family’s private box for some power-schmoozing with him and his kids" during the Republican National Convention.

Trump Encourages More Spying by Russia
4 hours ago

Donald Trump essentially encouraged more Russian espionage against Democrats in a press conference this morning. "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” That prompted Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan to say: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”