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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 225, the National Pediatric Research Network Act, and commend our colleagues, Congresswoman Capps and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, for their bipartisan efforts to move this legislation forward.
There are many rare pediatric diseases, and in some of these diseases the children are incredibly fragile. If we can allow for research to occur across the country--not just one single location--research can be done at a larger level because children could then participate without having to travel.
This bill would allow the National Institutes of Health to establish a national pediatric network comprised of up to 20 pediatric research consortia, groups of collaborating institutions. The consortia will conduct basic clinical, behavioral, and translational research on pediatric diseases and conditions.
Among the 20 consortia, the NIH Director is directed to ensure that an appropriate number of awards go to consortia that focus primarily on pediatric rare diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy or birth defects such as Down syndrome.
In addition, we all know too well that traditionally pediatric research has been underfunded. That can make it hard to train and develop the research talent needed to address these devastating illnesses. The consortia can therefore be the training grounds for future researchers helping to fill the pediatric pipeline.
Mr. Speaker, no funds are specifically allocated to this effort under the bill, but it's our hope and expectation that NIH will choose to create the network and build on the important work in pediatric research that it already supports.
In the last Congress, this same bill was considered and approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee and the full House by voice vote. It was also included in a broader children's health bill at the end of the session, but it failed to be considered in the Senate.
I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan effort to address pediatric research; and with that strong support, it's my hope that we can encourage its passage in the Senate this time.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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