Four Energy and Commerce Bills Signed Into Law in Less Than Four Weeks

December 19, 2013

It has been a productive few weeks for the Energy and Commerce Committee. Four of the last ten bills to be signed into law by President Obama are the product of bipartisan committee work on public health issues.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) commented: “I am extremely proud of the bipartisan accomplishments of this committee and my colleagues this year to protect and improve the health of all Americans. The work we have accomplished together will surely have a profound effect on the lives of children, families, and patients all across the country. We look forward to building on this success in the New Year.”

On November 13, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act became law. This law is designed to help children by encouraging schools to keep emergency supplies of epinephrine available in case a child suffers a life-threatening allergic reaction. The law amends the Children’s Asthma Treatment Grants Program and other asthma programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and allows a preference in awarding asthma grants to states with emergency epinephrine programs that meet specific requirements. Chairman Upton signed this law as Speaker Pro Tempore on November 6. Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) authored this legislation.

The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act advanced through the Energy and Commerce Committee in July and became law on November 21. This law has the power to potentially save a thousand HIV patients every year by permitting the research and eventually the transplantation of organs from one HIV patient to another HIV patient. The HOPE Act was sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA).

The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act has been a multi-year effort and was signed into law on November 27. One of every eight children is born prematurely. The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act seeks to strengthen the ongoing effort to track, prevent, and treat prematurity to ensure children have a healthy start and a productive future. This law also provides for the creation of the National Pediatric Research Network to facilitate research to help children with rare and genetic diseases. The original PREEMIE Act, sponsored by Chairman Upton, was signed into law in December 2006. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) spearheaded the House version of the PREEMIE Act. Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) authored standalone legislation, H.R. 225, to create the network, which passed the House of Representatives in February.

The Drug Quality and Security Act became law on November 27. Last year’s deadly meningitis outbreak, one of the largest public health crises in years, prompted a yearlong investigation by the committee, the results of which contributed to these reforms. The law will protect traditional pharmacies and clarify laws related to human drug compounding. It will also strengthen the prescription drug supply chain in order to defend American families against counterfeit drugs and protect jobs. The Drug Quality and Security Act was introduced by Chairman Upton. Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Tim Murphy (R-PA) each played a central role in reaching this agreement.

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