Skip to content

Harkin Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Bills Aimed at Preventing Skin Cancer and Strengthening Traumatic Brain Injury Programs

Bipartisan Health Legislation Will Be 19th and 20th HELP Committee Bills Signed Into Law Under Harkin’s Leadership as Chairman

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded Congressional passage of two bipartisan health bills: the Sunscreen Innovation Act and the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014.

Led by Harkin as chairman, both bipartisan bills were passed by the HELP Committee and the full Senate in September. With House passage today, both bills now head to the President’s desk for his signature and are set to become the 19th and 20th HELP Committee bills to be signed into law this Congress under Harkin’s leadership as chairman.

“Today I am pleased to see the products of the HELP Committee’s bipartisan work move forward as we send these critical bills to the President’s desk. Helping American families stay healthy has been one of my top priorities and these bills will continue that work,” Harkin said. “The Sunscreen Innovation Act will streamline FDA’s review of new sunscreen ingredients and expedite access to new sunscreens, which will help keep Americans healthier by reducing the risk of skin cancer. The Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act will strengthen prevention, education, and access to support and health care for individuals with traumatic brain injuries. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers for coming together to pass these important bills and urge the President to sign them as soon as possible.”

The Sunscreen Innovation Act (S. 2141), introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), builds on the Sunscreen Innovation Act (H.R. 4250) passed by the House in July, and, while still prioritizing sunscreens, improves the regulatory pathway for other over-the-counter drugs that also have been stalled at FDA under the current framework.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than two million cases diagnosed every year. A recent report from the Surgeon General stated that nearly five million people in the United States are treated for skin cancers every year, with an annual cost estimated at $8.1 billion. Many of these cases could be prevented by protecting skin from sun exposure, according to the American Cancer Society.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014 reauthorizes critical Traumatic Brain Injury programs currently at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Additionally, S. 2539:

  • Gives the HHS Secretary discretion over what HHS agency should lead the programs currently at HRSA;
  • Calls for an interagency coordination plan;
  • Requires a new report on the Protection and Advocacy grant program; and
  • Requires a review of scientific evidence relating to brain injury management in children.