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HELP Committee Concludes Productive 115th Congress by Passing Five Additional Bills and Approving Four More Qualified Nominations

At final markup of the 2017-2018 Congress, Chairman Alexander says that the Committee’s work has touched the lives of virtually every American

WASHINGTON, November 29, 2018 — The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) today concluded a productive 115th Congress by passing five additional bills and approving four more qualified nominations.

At today’s markup, which was the committee’s final of this Congress, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, “the work this Committee has done over the last two years will have an impact on the lives of virtually every American.”

 “In October, President Trump signed into law what Leader McConnell called ‘landmark’ legislation to fight the opioid crisis. That legislation included more than 40 proposals from this Committee, and contributions from 70 senators, many on this Committee.”

“In July, President Trump signed the Perkins CTE Act, which Senators Enzi and Casey worked on and we passed through this Committee. This legislation funds the career and technical education programs that train the skilled workers employers tell us they need.”

“And last August, the president signed into law the FDA user fee agreements that will help bring new drugs and devices to patients more quickly.”

Today, the committee approved five additional bills:

  • S.2076, BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act offered by Senators Collins, Kaine, Capito, and Cortez Masto, which will create Centers of Excellence to advance public health knowledge and ensure public health professionals, doctors and nurses, and patients and their families have the support and updated information on Alzheimer’s and related dementia diseases they need. The bill also establishes cooperative agreements to support state public health departments in taking what is learned from these centers of excellence and implementing that knowledge to help the individuals and families in their states.
  • S.3657, Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 offered by Senators Hatch and Casey, which reauthorizes state grants and programs related to surveillance, prevention, care, and research of traumatic brain injuries, and encourages data collection and analysis so we can better understand trends and causes of concussions.
  • H.R.315, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act offered by Senators Murkowski and Baldwin, which will help bring more doctors and nurses to provide care for pregnant women living in rural areas and other areas where there is a shortage of these health care providers.
  • S.3482, Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 offered by Senators Hatch, Casey and Schatz, which will ensure that, from the ambulance to the emergency department, emergency health care providers are prepared to treat children, who typically require smaller equipment and different doses of medicine.
  • S.3530, Museum and Library Services Act of 2018 offered by Senators Collins, Murkowski, Reed and Gillibrand, which reauthorizes programs for museums and libraries, including the only federal program exclusively for libraries—the Library Services and Technology Act.

The committee also approved four nominations:

  • Nomination of Erhard Chorle to be Member, Railroad Retirement Board
  • Nomination of Gordon Hartogensis to be Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Nomination of Robert L. King to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Nomination of John P. Pallasch to be Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, U.S. Department of Labor

 Alexander continued: “After we approve these five bills today, this Committee will have reported 29 bills this Congress and approved 50 nominees. I hope the full Senate will pass these bills and confirm these nominees before the end of the year as well. While we have accomplished quite a bit working together this Congress, looking towards next year, there are some things I hope to work on. This includes finding real ways to lower the cost of health care for Americans and reauthorizing the Higher Education Act to ensure it continues to be a good investment for students.”

Alexander concluded his remarks by recognizing Senator Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) lifetime commitment to our country: “Today is Senator Hatch’s last markup of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. While both leading this Committee as Chairman and serving as a member, Orrin has maintained his principled conservatism while working across the aisle to create dozens of laws in health care and education.  In fact, he has introduced more bills that have become law than any other living Senator. He has kept it up until the end – Orrin has led two of the bills we are considering today. I want to thank you for your lifelong commitment to make life better for tens of millions of Americans.”

You can read Senator Alexander’s full prepared opening statement here.