CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, November 12, 2013, the House will consider S. 252, the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who Deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Reauthorization Act, as Amended, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on February 7, 2013, by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and passed in the Senate with amendments by voice vote. S. 252 was received in the House and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
S. 252 reauthorizes research and programs on preterm birth. Title I of this legislation authorizes the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to: (1) conduct currently required epidemiological studies on the factors relating to prematurity; (2) conduct activities to improve national data to facilitate the tracking of preterm birth; (3) and continue efforts to prevent preterm birth through the identification of opportunities for prevention and the assessment of the impact of such efforts. CDC is required under this legislation to submit a report to Congress a report every two years concerning the progress of its research. In addition, Title I would require the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to give preference to entities that propose the use of grant funds to establish telehealth networks that provide prenatal care for high-risk pregnancies. Title I would reduce the authorization amounts currently in statute to the currently appropriated amounts for the activities. The House passed PREEMIE reauthorization language last Congress, but the bill was not enacted.
Title II, cited as the “National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013”, would allow the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a national pediatric research network. Networks are to be comprised of research institutions that would operate as a consortium in order to pool resources and coordinate activities related to pediatric rare diseases or birth defects.
Title III would reauthorize the care, maintenance, and transportation of chimpanzees currently or formerly used by the NIH for research through FY2018. The bill would authorize funding for FY 2014-2018 (starting with $12.4 million in FY 2014 (consistent with the amount currently used for these activities) and reducing the amount to $9.4 million in FY 2018)). Title III also requires the NIH to publish a biennial report on the care of chimpanzees under NIH control and the costs and research status associated with such care. It would also require the GAO to conduct a study on the chimpanzees owned by the NIH and explore options for saving money.
H.R. 225, the National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013, was reported out of Committee by unanimous consent and passed by the House in February.
A comprehensive CBO score based upon the bill as amended is currently unavailable.