US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Senate Passes Alexander-Bennet Bill to Reduce Premature Births

PREEMIE bill now goes to the president’s desk to be signed into law

Friday, November 15, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and committee member Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) today praised the Senate passage of their bill to reduce infant deaths and disabilities by expanding research, education, and intervention activities related to premature birth. The House passed the bill on Tuesday, and it now heads to the president’s desk.

“This bill will help the scientists and researchers working on saving infant lives and preventing births from happening too early. It is an important step to helping reduce the rate of premature births in Tennessee, which is over 12 percent,” Alexander said. “We have made great progress since we first put the spotlight on premature birth, but it remains the leading killer of newborns and a major cause of lasting disabilities.”

“In an average week in Colorado, 138 infants are born preterm. This bill will help doctors and medical researchers who are working to find new and innovative ways to give our kids the best chance at a long and healthy life,” Bennet said. “This is important research that will help us understand the causes and what can be done to reduce the rate of preterm births.”

The “PREEMIE” bill passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in February. The legislation reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) research and programs on preterm birth, including improving national data tracking on preterm birth, and conducting studies. The bill also reauthorizes programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration aimed at improving the treatment and outcome for infants born premature. 

The legislation is supported by the March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the Association of State & Territorial Health Officials, and the National Association of County & City Health Officials.

The bill was passed with two additional provisions: the CHIMP Act Amendments to ensure the National Institutes of Health is able to continue caring for the chimpanzees it owns; and a provision to create a National Pediatric Research Network to encourage more support of pediatric research.

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