Senator Udall Introduces Legislation to Ensure Tribal CDC Access for Health Security and Preparedness
Earlier this month, Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M) introduced the CDC Tribal Public Health Security and Preparedness Act, legislation that would ensure Tribes can access Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) resources for public health emergencies, like the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the Indian Health Service serves as the primary federal agency charged with providing healthcare in Indian Country, all federal agencies⎯including the CDC⎯share equally in the requirement to fulfill our trust and treaty obligations,” said Senator Udall, who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Under the proposed legislation, Tribes would be able to apply to the CDC public health emergency preparedness program (PHEP), a grant program that seeks to advance response timelines for local public health entities during health emergencies. States and territories are able to apply for the PHEP program, but Tribes are currently ineligible.
The CDC would also be authorized to make essential adjustments to the program to fit Tribal needs.
Senator Udall stated that “This new legislation will improve Tribal access to federal resources meant to help communities better prepare for public health emergencies. As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I will continue to push Congress and the Administration to make sure Indian Country has access to federal public health resources it needs and that there is meaningful engagement with Native communities and Tribal leaders in our national response to COVID-19.”
For the full text of the CDC Tribal Public Health Security and Preparedness Act, click here.