WASHINGTON (WNCN) — Together, Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the PREVENT Pandemics Act on March 9.

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held an executive session on the legislation to begin the work it will need before moving to the Senate floor and the House.

According to a release from the committee, the legislation takes “common-sense steps to act on lessons learned from the pandemic response.”

To achieve such action, the Prepare for and Responded to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats and Pandemics Act proposes ways to strengthen the nation’s preparedness and response framework for future public health emergencies.

The PREVENT Pandemics Act represents nearly a year of Committee work reviewing the nation’s pandemic response and includes critical reforms to improve Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accountability and transparency.

The proposed act would aim to improve federal leadership and coordination through the establishment of the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy at the White House.

More key focuses of the PREVENT Pandemics Act are ensuring the FDA keeps pace with cutting-edge platform technology and the nation’s lab safety and security architecture are further enhanced.

In his opening statement Tuesday, Burr said the last action of the committee related to preparedness legislation was in May 2018 to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act.

FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2020 file photo Surgeon General Jerome Adams, appears before a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP,File)

“While we knew it was an important bill at the time, we had no idea just how much our work then would impact our daily lives now,” said Burr.

In 27 years in Congress, Burr said he had rarely seen the government body move as quickly as it did to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and in a bipartisan way at that. Now, he says, the central issue of today is finding how to better anticipate and rise to the challenge of the next big threat.

“During each of our hearings, members on both sides of the aisle rightfully challenged the CDC for their actions, confusing directives, and inability to provide realistic guidance to Americans. Through this bill, we are putting into place real, meaningful reforms that take important steps to improve the culture of the CDC, which desperately needs changing,” said Burr in his opening statement Tuesday.

“Along with cultural reforms at the CDC, the modernization of public health data and surveillance capabilities will be key in providing early warning signs of the next threat we face.”

Burr also said of the legislation that it represents a new designated pathway for platform technologies that would support the same technologies that created life-saving vaccines and therapeutics.

“As we open this bill up for amendment and debate, I would like to ask my colleagues to resist the temptation to add legislation that is not related to preparedness policies to this bill. This legislation should stay focused on the important task at hand,” said Burr.

“My hope is that the President will be able to sign this bill into law as soon as possible.”