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Katko bill to require federal plans for future COVID-19 surges advances in House

Katko bill to require federal plans for future COVID-19 surges advances in House

Katko Milk.JPG

Congressman John Katko hands out milk during the Auburn Rotary Club's milk giveaway at Auburn Towne Center Plaza. 500 half gallons of Hillcrest Dairy 2 percent milk and 100 half gallons of chocolate milk were distributed during the drive thru event.

A bill co-authored by U.S. Rep. John Katko to require federal agencies to develop plans for future COVID-19 spikes is one step closer to final approval in the House of Representatives. 

The House Oversight and Reform Committee advanced the COVID PREPARE Act on Wednesday. The legislation, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, an Illinois Democrat, would require federal agencies to submit their response plans to Congress. 

"As our community continues to confront the devastating effects of this crisis, many central New Yorkers I've spoken to fear a 'second wave' would significantly exacerbate these issues," Katko, R-Camillus, said. "By requiring federal agencies to develop and submit reports on how they would respond to a resurgence of cases, my bill would force the federal government and (Trump administration) to learn from their past missteps and deploy a more effective strategy for combating the virus." 

According to the bill, the agencies would be mandated to file an action plan that addresses "the needs and mitigating and eliminating the risks and challenges associated with any resurgence in COVID-19 cases." The agencies would also need to file quarterly reports until the national emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic ends. 

The initial report filed by the agencies would include priorities for preparation to respond to another surge in COVID-19 cases, challenges that are expected in addressing those priorities and how the agency would consult with Congress and other government entities while operating remotely. 

Katko and Schneider introduced the bill in July. It has been endorsed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, of which Katko is a member. 

Now that the measure has cleared the House Oversight and Reform Committee, it can be voted on by the full House. It's unknown when the House may vote on the legislation. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at

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