Appropriators Raise Concerns About Infectious Diseases in DHS Facilities

Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) have written to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan regarding how their agencies are handling concerns regarding the risk of infectious diseases at DHS facilities holding children who have entered the country through the southern border. DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Roybal-Allard, Chair of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, question whether “poor conditions in these facilities may be exacerbating the spread of infectious diseases that poses significant health risks to the other children around them.” The lawmakers note their particular concern about influenza, given the impending start of flu season, and point to a letter they received from doctors from Harvard and Johns Hopkins about the threat of infectious diseases inside these facilities.

E&C Request Details on Bioterrorism Detection System

Bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that the agency examine the deployment of DHS’s new biodetection technology system, BioDetection 21 (BD21). The BD21 pilot program is supposed to replace BioWatch, the early warning system designed to detect large-scale bioterrorism threats. The lawmakers also ask that GAO evaluate DHS’s implementation of previous recommendations for the biodetection program. The letter was signed by Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.).

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights oversight hearing to examine enforcement of the antitrust laws; 2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.; September 17

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