Romney, Murphy introduce bill to name global health coordinator, council amid coronavirus pandemic

Romney, Murphy introduce bill to name global health coordinator, council amid coronavirus pandemic
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan pair of senators introduced legislation on Friday that would require President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE to appoint a global health coordinator and create an inter-agency council charged with preparing for pandemics. 
 
The bill, from Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation Senators to meet with Ukraine president to reaffirm US support Equilibrium/Sustainability — Bald eagle comeback impacted by lead poison MORE (D-Conn.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyShame on Biden for his Atlanta remarks — but are we surprised? The Memo: Blame game intensifies over nation's divide ​​Democrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration MORE (R-Utah), comes after the White House garnered criticism in the midst of the coronavirus for a 2018 decision to disband the National Security Council's global health unit, a decision former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonFormer Trump officials plotting effort to blunt his impact on elections: report Equilibrium/Sustainability — Fire calls infrastructural integrity into question Will Biden's 2021 foreign policy failures reverberate in 2022? MORE characterized as a "streamlining." 
 
"We clearly weren't prepared in this case, and we cannot waste time in establishing new organizations in the federal government that can identify and prepare for health threats before they become domestic crises," Murphy said in a statement.

Romney added that the U.S. response to the coronavirus had "exposed some glaring gaps in our nation’s capacity to respond to a pandemic."

"By establishing a health security council and dedicating a new NSC position to developing global health strategies and coordinating responses, our bill will better prepare us to confront the spread of another infectious disease," he said. 
 
The bill would require Trump to create a Global Health Security Agenda Interagency Review Council, which would meet at least four times a year and consist of officials from across the federal government, to provide recommendations on and help carry out global health policy.
 
Trump would also have to appoint a coordinator for global health security, who would be responsible for coordinating the administration's response to global health emergencies, and would brief Congress at least twice a year. 
 
Romney and Murphy are urging Trump to make the coordinator a person who has a "significant background and expertise in public health or emergency response management" and is a National Security Council employee. 
 
The bill also reaffirms that global health is a "core national security interest" for the United States, and that it should be U.S. policy to work with other countries to detect and prevent the spread of the disease and to prevent infectious disease outbreaks.