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Public Statements

Energy and Commerce Committee Approves Pascrell Children's Vision Bill

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


A leading advocate in Congress for improved children's vision care, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today praised passage of the Vision Care for Kids Act of 2007 through the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Pascrell, an original sponsor of the legislation since 2002, has worked for six years towards the creation of a grant program that would increase and improve access to preventative vision care for children.

"I thank Chairman Frank Pallone and the Energy and Commerce Committee for prioritizing vision care for children," stated Pascrell. "Eye health has a direct impact on learning and achievement. As many of our youngest children begin their schooling this month, it is unacceptable that only one in three will receive preventative vision care before they reach elementary school. Today's progress has the potential to address a dangerous oversight in the early education and development of American children."

"Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that would establish federal grants to ensure more children receive comprehensive eye examinations and the critical information their families need about vision impairment," said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. "I commend Congressman Pascrell for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to moving the bill to the floor, where I am confident it will garner the same bipartisan support it received in Committee."

The Vision Care for Kids Act would establish a federal grant program focusing on treatment to bolster children's vision initiatives in the states. It would encourage children's vision partnerships with private non-profit entities, like state optometric associations, that share a deep commitment to safeguarding the sight of America's children.

It would encourage children's vision partnerships with non-profit entities, that share a state optometric association's commitment to safeguarding the sight of America's children.

"Passage of the Vision Care for Kids Act in the Energy and Commerce Committee is a promising development for the academic performance of millions of American children. I have worked closely with Senator Chris Dodd and Kit Bond, and urge my Senate colleagues to follow our path towards a new standard for children's health and learning."

Ten million children suffer from vision disorders, according to the National Parent Teacher Association. Vision disorders are considered the fourth most common disability in the United States, and they are one of the most prevalent handicapping conditions in childhood.

In 2006, Rep. Pascrell was selected to receive the American Optometric Association's Health Care Leadership Award for his longtime advocacy for children's eye and vision care.

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