INDEPENDENT NEWS

Homeland Sec. Bill - Unlimited Smallpox Powers

Published: Thu 14 Nov 2002 01:17 PM
Association of American Physicians & Surgeons
The Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
URGENT! Unlimited Smallpox Vaccines Powers in New Homeland Security Bill
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-HR 5701 will be voted on tonight in House
-Most won't have time to read the 480-page bill
-Similar to defeated state Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA)
-Gives HHS Secretary unlimited power to declare bioterrorism emergency
-Plus unlimited power to vaccinate, quarantine?
-Tell Congress and White House to remove this section. ACT TONIGHT!
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The new Homeland Security Department bill has hit the floor of the House of Representatives this afternoon, and will be voted on tonight!
Most of the Members won't even have a chance to read the 480 pages of H.R. 5701 before they vote on it in hours. But we have some of it is alarmingly familiar, reading like the state Model Emergency Health Powers Acts (MEHPA) that so many have worked so hard to defeat this year. Instead of giving the unlimited powers to a governor, the powers will now be bestowed on the Secretary of HHS.
Specifically, Section 304, Subsection C "Administration of counter measures against smallpox" gives the Secretary of HHS these unchecked powers (pg. 76):
--Declare an actual or POTENTIAL bio-terrorist or other kind of incident
--He can administer "countermeasures" to a category of individuals or everyone
--He can continually extend the declare the declaration without Congress's consent
Also, if you are harmed, you cannot sue or take any other civil remedy.
This section will give the Secretary unlimited power to define a real or potential threat, to take any measures he decides, and to do it for as long as he wants.
WE MUST ELIMINATE THIS SECTION AND WE MUST ACT QUICKLY
IMMEDIATELY tell your Member of Congress not to pass the bill tonight with Section 304, Subsection C "Administration of counter measures against smallpox." This section must be deleted until we have an honest accounting of how much power it would give the Secretary.
Questions to be answered:
What are the "countermeasures" that will be taken? Quarantines? Forced smallpox immunizations?
What is the definition of a "bioterrorist incident" or other incident to merit a declaration?
What constitutes a "potential" incident?
Who will act as a "check and balance" to the Secretary's unlimited powers?
BILL IS HERE http://www.house.gov/rules/homeland.pdf
Contact your Member of Congress http://www.house.gov/writerep
Contact the White House president@whitehouse.gov
Read the text of the subsection (1 page) http://www.aapsonline.org
Association of American Physicians & Surgeons
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716
(800) 635-1196
(520) 325-4230 Fax
www.aapsonline.org

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