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Mr. LANCE. It is wonderful to see you in the chair, and I congratulate you on your magnificent service to the people of Missouri and the Nation.
I rise in strong support of S. 1440, to reauthorize the 2006 PREEMIE Act and to provide important continued research, education, and intervention in the national effort to reduce preterm births.
Madam Speaker, our Nation's premature birth rate is one of the highest in the world, and it is the leading cause of newborn death in the United States. Infants born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk for lifelong health and learning disabilities. In addition to its human toll, premature birth costs our economy billions of dollars per year; and while the medical community has made great strides in identifying the risk factors associated with premature births, far too many premature births today have no known causes.
That is why the Members of the House and Senate have worked in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion to reauthorize the 2006 PREEMIE Act so that we may continue to spur innovative solutions that will ultimately lead not just to healthier babies but to lower annual health care costs.
I thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Pitts and Ranking Member Waxman and Ranking Member Pallone for their steadfast leadership on this issue as well as to thank Senators Lamar Alexander and Michael Bennet. Once again, I commend Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California for working on an important issue to the health and well-being of the American people.
While many complain about the partisan nature of Congress, we have worked in a cooperative fashion on this and other issues, as has the entire Energy and Commerce Committee. It is in that bipartisan spirit that I ask all of my colleagues to join with us in the support of the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act so that we as a Nation will be able to continue our focus on premature birth research and prevention.
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