S. 799, Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015

S. 799

Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015

Sen. Mitch McConnell

November 16, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Monday, November 16, 2015, the House will consider S. 799, the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules.  S. 799 was introduced on March 19, 2015 by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and passed the Senate by unanimous consent on October 22, 2015.  The House passed a similar bill (H.R. 1462) by voice vote on September 8, 2015.

Bill Summary

S. 799 requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study and develop recommendations for preventing and treating prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The bill requires the Department to publish a report with recommendations for doing so on its website within 18 months of enactment.  The bill also directs HHS to review the Department’s planning and coordination related to prenatal opioid abuse and NAS and develop a strategy to address gaps in research and overlap and duplication among federal programs in these areas.  The bill further authorizes HHS to collect and make available surveillance data and provide technical assistance to states related to data collection and surveillance activities with regard to prenatal opioid abuse and NAS.


NAS “refers to medical issues associated with drug withdrawal in newborns due to exposure to opioids or other drugs in utero.”[1]  According to a 2012 report, a significant rise in opiate abuse has led to a substantial increase of babies born with NAS.  In the United States, the incidence of NAS has risen from 1.20 per 1,000 hospital births in 2000 to 3.39 per 1,000 hospital births in 2009.[2]  The average cost of hospital treatment for NAS increased from $39,400 to $53,400 during that time.[3]  Babies born with NAS can be hospitalized for weeks and suffer from seizures, respiratory impairments, tremors, and have difficulty feeding.

According to the bill’s sponsor, “Researchers estimate that more than one baby every hour is now born dependent on drugs and suffering from withdrawal. This statistic is just heart-breaking and the bipartisan Protecting Our Infants Act can help protect them.”[4]

[1] See Committee on Energy and Commerce background memorandum at 2.
[2] H.R. 1462, section 2, paragraph (3).
[3] Id. at paragraph (5).
[4] See Press Release—“Senators McConnell and Casey’s Protecting Our Infants Act Advances,” September 30, 2015.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing S. 799 would cost $27 million over the 2016 to 2020 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting S. 799 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.