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Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of S. 252, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, which will provide vital and continued medical education and research in the national effort to reduce preterm births. This legislation will advance the great progress made since the 2006 act and support Federal research and community involvement in premature birth research.
Our Nation's premature birth rate is among the highest in the world, and it is the leading cause of newborn deaths 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 among infants and its toll on their families, premature births cost our Nation's economy much financially, 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.
It is fitting that the House will consider this legislation this evening. November marks Prematurity Awareness Month, a product of the fine work of the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes estimates that, since 2006, 176,000 fewer babies have been born too soon because of improvements in the preterm birth rate. This is why the Members of the House and the Senate have worked in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion to reauthorize the 2006 act.
I thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Pitts and Ranking Member Waxman and Ranking Member Pallone for their leadership on this issue, as well as Senator Alexander and Senator Harkin and Senator Bennet. I especially want to thank Congresswoman Anna Eshoo from California for working on this important issue, which benefits the health and well-being of the American people.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. UPTON. I yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.
Mr. LANCE. This is how Congress should work--together--on issues that make a lasting difference for the American people. It is in that bipartisan spirit that I ask all of my colleagues to join with us in 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.
My thanks also to Congresswoman Capps for her leadership on this issue.
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