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School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Dr. Burgess and Mr. Butterfield for their leadership on this bill, but I certainly want to thank my friend, Dr. Phil Roe, who has been a delight to work with. It has taken us a little bit of time, but we stayed after it. We stayed after it because, as Dr. Burgess and Judge Butterfield have observed, this will save lives. This will save the lives of children. This will save the lives of children who do not know that they have an allergy which is life threatening.

I'm the grandfather of an 11-year-old little girl. I've been with her twice in the emergency room when she was but an infant and when she was slightly older than an infant. I want to tell my colleagues a story about my daughter who took Alexa to Disney World.

They were walking down the pathway, one of the walkways at Disney World, and all of a sudden my granddaughter started wheezing heavily and stated having an allergic reaction. She is extraordinarily allergic to peanut butter and peanuts. But she'd had no peanut butter and she'd had no peanuts. As a matter of fact, this little girl is extraordinarily careful about what she eats. She comes to my house, she makes sure that I read the labels and she reads the labels. She brings with her her EpiPen in the little case that is always with her.

But as they were walking down that pathway, she started to wheeze heavily, and they had no idea why. My daughter turned around and retraced a few of their steps, and they saw popcorn being made--popcorn being made with peanut oil. And the mere breathing in of that peanut oil air caused her to start wheezing heavily. Now, she didn't have anaphylactic shock at that point in time, and she did not need to go to an emergency room at that time, but it shows how extraordinarily vulnerable people can be to these food allergies.

So I'm very pleased to stand here in support of this bill. I'm very pleased to stand here as a cosponsor of this legislation with my friend, Dr. Roe from Tennessee, and I want to thank him. I want to thank him for his work. I want to thank him as a doctor and as a Member of Congress and as a parent. He shared my concern and we worked together.

There were some difficulties to overcome, but he and I together, working together with Fred Upton--and I want to thank Fred Upton and Henry Waxman, the chair and ranking member of the committee, as well as Dr. Burgess and Mr. Butterfield for their help. They have both said, and I'm sure Dr. Roe will say, this will save lives. It is not a mandate, but it is a suggestion. It is an urging to make sure that, given the fact that we have this lifesaving capability, that that capability be deployed and be present so that no child will have to die because of a reaction to one of these allergies.

So I thank them again and thank my friend for yielding.


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