Bilirakis Bill Would Improve Emergency Response
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson are supporting the proposal, which would give the government temporary hiring authority to recruit and train emergency workers.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, has introduced biprtisan legislation this week to improve the federal government’s ability to respond to emergency situations, like natural and manmade disasters.
If passed, the proposal would allow the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response to fill 2,000 vacant positions within the next month.
The ASPR is an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services that deploys Disaster Medical Assistance Teams to help coordinate emergency medical responses as needed. These teams are comprised of part-time professionals who take temporary leave from their alternate employment to help during a crisis; however, because of retirements and a hiring freeze, ASPR is has a staffing shortage of 2,000 personnel in this critical area.
Given HHS’s rigorous hiring and training protocols, ASPR will not be at full capacity by next hurricane season unless it is given direct hiring authority to fill these vacant positions within the next month. Bilirakis’ bill would give ASPR direct, temporary hiring authority to recruit and train these essential professionals.
“Public safety is a paramount concern. It is important that we give the Department of Health and Human Services the tools they need to effectively respond to emergency situations,” Bilirakis said. “As we saw with this hurricane season, multiple catastrophic disasters within a short period of time can strain resources. It is critical to plan ahead and eliminate bureaucratic red tape that is preventing our country from being fully prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.”
U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, Pete Olson, R-TX, and Gene Green, D-TX, are cosponsors of the bill. The bill’s Senate companion has been introduced by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and is co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson as well as Sens. John Cornyn, R-TX, and Bill Cassidy, R-LA.
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes north Pinellas and Pasco counties.
For information about Gus Bilirakis, go to bilirakis.house.gov.
Gus Bilirakis | Emergency Repsonse | Disaster Response | Kathy Castor | Marco Rubio | Bill Nelson | Tampabay News
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