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Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CHAFEE. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about a disease that has touched many American families. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American women. More women are living with breast cancer than any other cancer.

Three million women are living with breast cancer in the United States, 2 million of which have been diagnosed and 1 million who don't know they have the disease. Over 40,000 women will have died from breast cancer this year alone. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women between the ages of 20 and 59.

What is the Senate doing about breast cancer? Some of you may know that I have a bill, S. 757, the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act. This bill was first introduced on March 23, 2000, in the 106th Congress. Since that time, the bill has been introduced in the 107th Congress, where it had 44 bipartisan cosponsors and was on the verge of being included in the Women's Health Act of 2002 when negotiations broke down. In the 108th Congress, the bill again had tremendous bipartisan support, with 60 cosponsors. But again we did not act on the bill, which brings me to the current situation in the 109th Congress.

The bill now has 66 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and 255 cosponsors in the House. Thanks to the support and leadership of Chairman MICHAEL ENZI of the HELP Committee, this bill was reported unanimously by the committee on July 24, 2006. The bill was hotlined for floor consideration before the August recess, but it has not received Senate passage.

We as a Senate are denying millions of American women diagnosed with breast cancer the answers that might lead to a better understanding and perhaps a cure to this disease.

How can a bill with 66 cosponsors that was reported unanimously by the HELP Committee not be taken up and approved by the Senate?

This bill provides a targeted strategy and a long-term research investment needed to explore the links between the environment and breast cancer. Millions of women who are afflicted with breast cancer deserve the answers this legislation could yield.

I urge my colleagues to work with me to remove any obstacles and secure passage of the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act.

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