WASHINGTON — Congress temporarily extended a few pandemic-preparedness programs when it forestalled a government shutdown at the last minute Saturday evening. But a program that encourages the development of countermeasures for big public health problems like pandemics expired without reauthorization.
With hours left before a funding lapse, Congress passed a measure to keep the government running for another 45 days. That temporary funding measure also extended a few programs that are part of the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act.
The Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act was a Bush administration priority that Congress passed in 2006 to help the government respond to nuclear and biological attacks and naturally occurring threats, such as pandemics. The law created the HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, which runs the country’s stockpile of medical supplies, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which funds the development of biodefense products.