Val Demings Introduces the Health Security and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act

This week, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., showcased her proposal “to modernize the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, and to formalize and expand the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Security.”

Demings introduced the bill at the end of last week and showcased the bill on Monday. U.S. Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-NY, Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., are co-sponsoring the proposal.

The bill will “repeal the sunset clause on the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office, and clarify CWMD’s role in leading the Department’s efforts to counter chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats; establish a CWMD Advisory Council and increase oversight through a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review; establish the new Office of Health Security to advise the Department of Homeland Security on medical, public health, and workforce health and safety matters; and require a biodefense review and establish a departmental biodefense strategy.”

Demings weighed in on the bill on Monday.

“The safety and security of every American is my top priority. When it comes to weapons of mass destruction and deadly pandemics, we have no room for error. My new legislation will stabilize and expand our efforts to stop chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats to the American people, and will also improve oversight and operations to make sure that our time and money is being spent effectively. As we continue to face current and future biological health risks from monkeypox to anthrax, this legislation is critical to protect the safety of DHS personnel and the American people,” Demings said.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Homeland Security and the Energy and Commerce Committees. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Kevin Derby
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