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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004-Continued

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004—CONTINUED

Mr. DeWINE. I thank my colleague from Pennsylvania. I also thank my other colleague from Pennsylvania, the chairman of the committee, for his good work on this bill and for his willingness to work with us on this very important issue.

I know the hour is late, Mr. President. I am just going to take literally 2 minutes to explain this amendment. I will offer the amendment and then I believe the amendment will be accepted.

This amendment is very simple. What it does is it will restore the money to this bill the President has requested this
Congress to provide for a program that literally will save tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of lives of innocent children. We have the ability today to see a pregnant mother who is HIV positive and to provide her with the care and the drugs to ensure she will not give birth to a child who is HIV positive.

The statistics are very simple and the facts are very simple. If a woman today is pregnant and is HIV positive, the odds are—the percentage is about 30 percent—she will give birth to a child who is HIV positive. In sub-Saharan Africa or in Haiti or in Guyana, there are programs today that will reduce those odds from 30 percent down to 5 or 10 percent for as little as $3 to $4 per woman. That is not per day. That is per woman per child. It is almost a miracle.

My colleague in the Chair and other Members of the Senate who just came back from a trip, led by Majority Leader BILL
FRIST, to Africa saw these programs in place. They work. What this extra $60 million will do is to help ensure there will be tens of thousands of more children who will be born HIV negative.

I thank my chairman for allowing this money to come into the bill.

I call up my amendment on behalf of Senator Santorum and Senator Durbin, who went to bat, as he has many times in the past, for children and those who are HIV positive and who might be HIV positive. I thank Senator Durbin and Senator Santorum. I now call up my amendment No. 1623.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Ohio [Mr. DeWine], for himself, Mr. Santorum, and Mr. Durbin, proposes an amendment numbered 1623 to amendment No. 1542.

Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To increase funding for activities to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV)

On page 61, between lines 14 and 15, insert the following:

SEC. __. (a) MOTHER-TO-CHILD HIV TRANSMISSION PREVENTION.—In addition to any amounts otherwise made available under this Act to carry out mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention activities, there shall be made available an additional $60,000,000 to carry out such activities and $1,000,000 for non-mother-to-child activities.

(b) REDUCTION IN AMOUNTS.—Amounts made available under this Act for the administrative and related expenses for departmental management for the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, shall be reduced on a pro rata basis by $61,000,000.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

PEDIATRIC GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION

Mr. DEWINE. Mr. President, I thank my colleague, Senator SPECTER, for all of the work he has put into drafting and shepherding the Fiscal Year 2004 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill. His leadership and his efforts should be commended.

Last week, I offered an amendment in support of our Nation's children's hospitals. My amendment would equalize the funding that children's hospitals receive compared to adult hospitals. Specifically, the amendment would provide an additional $15 million to fund the pediatric Graduate Medical Education program at $305 million. These monies are used by children's hospitals across the country to hire and retain residents who are interested in pediatric research and in becoming pediatricians.

I ask my colleague, the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania, if he supports our Nation's children's hospitals and the Graduate Medical Education program?

Mr. SPECTER. I thank my colleague, Senator DEWINE. I strongly support our Nation's children's hospitals and the pediatric Graduate Medical Education program.

Mr. DEWINE. Children's hospitals train almost 30 percent of all pediatricians and half of all pediatric specialists. They also provide more than 40 percent of the hospital care in this country for children needing cardiac surgery, children suffering with cancer, and children with cerebral palsy.

Mr. HARKIN. I agree with my colleague about the valuable role of children's hospitals in providing pediatric care and research.

Mr. DEWINE. The House included $305 million in its Fiscal Year 2004 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bill. I have agreed to withdraw my amendment, but I urge the senior Senator from Pennsylvania to continue working to provide in conference the most funding possible for the Graduate Medical Education program.

Mr. SPECTER. I will do all that I can to see to it that the GME program is funded at the highest level possible in conference.

Mr. HARKIN. I concur with the chairman, and will strongly support the GME program.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mrs. CLINTON. The administration plans to provide $124 million in fiscal year 2004 so that it can store a 6-month supply of childhood vaccines by 2006. I thank Senators Specter and Harkin for affirming the administration's commitment to prevent further vaccine shortages by stockpiling a 6-month supply of childhood vaccines. Senators DeWine and Reed and I introduced the Childhood Vaccine Supply Act along with to strengthen and support the administration's authority in these efforts and assure that the stockpile includes adults as well as all children, who were affected by the tetanus-diphtheria toxoid shortage last year. Senator DeWine, is a vaccine stockpile sufficient to prevent future shortages?

Mr. DEWINE. No. We also need an additional buffer because CDC acknowledges that it will take until 2006 before we can have a six-month stockpile of childhood vaccines. That is why I joined you and Senator Reed in introducing the Childhood Vaccine Supply Act, which would provide a notification mechanism so that CDC can work with other manufacturers to maintain the vaccine supply when a manufacturer cannot produce an adequate supply of vaccine. Each of the four major vaccine producers has stated that they do not object to this sort of an advance notice provision. We have worked amicably with Senators Frist, Gregg, and Kennedy on both of these vaccine provisions. We have worked amicably with Senator Frist on this issue and our vaccine provisions, and fully expect to continue working with this bipartisan group of Senators to accomplish the important goal of assuring safe vaccines for all children.

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