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Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers Who Deliver Infants Early Reauthorization Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. CAPPS. I do want to acknowledge the gentlelady in the chair as my partner in the Capps-Emerson lectures and as my neighbor and a real friend.

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act. This is an important bill to improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and their babies, and it shows our Nation's commitment to addressing the costly and emotionally troubling incidence of preterm birth. While this is enough reason for me to support this legislation, I would like to highlight two additional sections of the bill that will improve the health and well-being not only of newborns but of our children as they grow.

First, it includes the reauthorization of the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program. This is a critical investment in both the health of our kids and in the health of our economy by bringing new, talented individuals into the health care workforce.

From my years as a school nurse, I know the difficulty that children experience, especially those with special health care needs, when they look for a pediatric specialist. Over the years, we have seen how CHGME programs have made a measurable impact in alleviating that burden, allowing these children and their families to focus on healing. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation and will continue to champion it in the House.

While we must ensure that the providers are available for our kids, we are still far behind on too many important diagnostics, cures, and treatments for many of our ailing children. That is why this bill also includes the National Pediatric Research Network Act, which is a bill that I coauthored with my colleague, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

This legislation will help strengthen and coordinate our Nation's research on pediatric diseases. It will disseminate research findings quickly so that all children may benefit, especially those who have rare diseases; and it will expand the geographic scope of research, giving sick kids easier access to research programs and to clinical trials. Moreover, this bill places an added emphasis on researching children's rare diseases, like spinal muscular atrophy, as my colleague Mr. Upton has noted, and on developing new treatments to fight them.

The low prevalence of these diseases makes them particularly hard to research, and yet these diseases have such a marked impact on the lives of far too many families and communities, like the Strong family of Santa Barbara. My constituents Bill and Victoria Strong have worked tirelessly on behalf of their daughter, Gwendolyn, and all children with spinal muscular atrophy and other rare diseases. The work they've done to help raise the profile of pediatric rare disease research is going to help families all across the Nation. I thank them.

I also thank the leadership of the Energy and Commerce Committee--Chairman Upton, Ranking Member Waxman, Chairman Pitts, and Ranking Member Pallone--for their dedication to this bill. I thank the staff, especially Ruth Katz, for working across the aisle and across the Capitol to bring a strong bill now to the floor.

I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill. I urge its swift passage in the Senate so that we can improve the health and well-being of all infants and all children.


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