11.14.07

ENZI: HELP COMMITTEE APPROVES CRITICAL BILLS TO ENHANCE PUBLIC HEALTH

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), today saidhe is pleased that the HELP Committee approved a series of bills to enhance the publichealth, including measures to fight childhood cancer, enhance the nation’s defensesagainst tuberculosis, detect childhood diseases at birth, and renew programs to ensure thatrural and underserved communities have a lifeline to dependable, high-quality medicalcare. Enzi praised the Committee’s action and said he will work with colleagues to makeadditional improvements to the bills before bringing them to the full Senate for debate.Enzi spoke on the following bills, which the HELP Committee approved today: • S. 911, Conquer Childhood Cancer Act – Expands, enhances, and intensifiespediatric cancer research programs. “We need to do more to fight childhood cancer, and this bill includes importantprovisions to expand and coordinate pediatric cancer research efforts. However, I amconcerned that pieces of this bill may undo some of the good work we did last year toreform the National Institutes of Health. In the NIH reform bill, we emphad that NIHshould determine research priorities on the basis of scientific merit, not Congressionalearmarks. I am hopeful that we will be able to work through this concern before bringingthe bill to the Senate floor.” • S. 1551, Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act – Provides additionalauthorities to NIH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to control domestictuberculosis more effectively. “The fight to control and prevent TB is one that should focus on marshalling andbetter coordinating the resources not only of federal agencies, but also state efforts, localefforts, and those of private sector drug innovation, along with the tremendous resourcesalready being deployed through charitable and corporate collaborations. This billreauthorizes existing authority and focuses resources on this topic.” • S. 1858, Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act – Updates the authorities of theHealth Resources and Services Administration for newborn screening activities,including specific provisions related to laboratory quality. “As I was reminded with the birth of my granddaughter recently, within 48 hoursof a child's birth, a sample of blood is obtained from a ‘heel stick,’ and the blood isanalyzed for treatable diseases. Accurate screening ensures that affected babies areidentified quickly, potential cases of disease are not missed, and early treatment begins toprevent negative health outcomes for affected newborns. Thousands of children areliving healthy and productive lives as a result of newborn screening. However, we canalways do more, which is what the new bill before us strives to do.” • S. 1382, ALS Registry Act – Authorizes CDC to provide a registry (or electronicform of collecting data) for those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) orsimilar disorders. “The cause of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, remains elusive.Studies have found relationships between ALS and environmental and genetic factors,but those relationships are not well understood. This bill provides for a national registryin order to learn more about this disease and possible risks.” • S. 1970, Addressing the Disaster Needs of Children Act of 2007 – Creates acommission to study issues related to children and all hazards, disasters, andemergencies. “Hurricane Katrina exposed many of these problems with our nation's ability tomeet the needs of children during disasters. Two years later, only 45 percent of NewOrleans schools have reopened. Experiences like these illustrate the importance ofexamining the special needs of children in preparation for, response to, and recoveryfrom emergencies and disasters. This legislation does exactly that, and I am happy tosupport it.” • S. 901, the Health Care Safety Net Act of 2007 – Reauthorizes the HealthCenters program, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program, and theRural Health Care Services Outreach grant program for five years. “Community Health Centers are a critical piece of the health care safety net and avital piece of our health care system. Health Centers provide regular access to highquality health care to people living in rural and underserved areas, regardless of theirability to pay. The number of Health Centers continues to rise and more people aregetting the kind of high quality health care they have come to rely on every day. “The National Health Service Corps assists Health Professional Shortage Areasin all parts of the United States to meet their primary care, dental care, and mental healthservices needs. In my home State of Wyoming, we have a shortage of every type ofprovider, so I am glad this Committee is reauthorizing this important program. I am alsopleased to renew the Rural Health Care Services Outreach grant program, whichincreases access to primary health care services for rural Americans.” The HELP Committee also approved the following nominations:• Julie Fisher Cummings, of Michigan, to be a Member of the Board of Directors ofthe Corporation for National and Community Service;• Mark D. Gearan, of New York, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of theCorporation for National and Community Service;• Tom Osborne, of Nebraska, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of theCorporation for National and Community Service;• Alan D. Solomont, of Massachusetts, to be a Member of the Board of Directors ofthe Corporation for National and Community Service;• Donna N. Williams, of Texas, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of theCorporation for National and Community Service; and,• Charles E. F. Millard, of New York, to be Director of the Pension BenefitGuaranty Corporation. ####

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