Bipartisan Capps Bills Approved by Energy and Commerce Subcommittee

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee approved two bipartisan bills co-authored by Congresswoman Lois Capps: the National Pediatric Research Network Act (H.R. 6163) and the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act (H.R. 4124). Both bills are expected to be considered by the full Energy and Commerce Committee next week.

I’m very pleased that these important bipartisan bills have been approved by the Health Subcommittee. Today’s markup is a great example of how we can work together to improve children’s health and provide support for our veterans returning home,” said Capps.

The first piece of legislation, the National Pediatric Research Network Act (H.R. 6163), was introduced with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) and would authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to facilitate the creation of up to 20 pediatric research consortia focused on pediatric diseases, such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The bipartisan bill was designed to help increase research and accelerate the development of clinical trials to treat rare pediatric diseases.

Capps added, “The bipartisan National Pediatric Research Network Act would go a long way to increasing and improving research on children’s illnesses–especially rare and complex diseases–and developing new treatments to fight them. Every parent’s worst fear is that their child becomes sick, and we owe it to all parents to do what we can to fight childhood illnesses.”

"The National Pediatric Research Network Act (NPRNA) is a game changer for the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) disease community and it couldn't be coming to fruition at a more opportune time. SMA remains the #1 genetic killer of young children but SMA research is thriving on several fronts and a number of promising therapies are accelerating towards human clinical trials. These therapies have the real potential to positively impact those living with SMA and completely alter the face of the disease for those born with SMA in the future. After years of coordinated efforts at every level we can now see a path to potentially changing SMA from a terminal disease to a treatable one. And thanks to the NPRNA these therapies will have a much more effective and efficient conduit through which to travel, moving promising drugs to FDA approval. As parents of a 4-and-a-half year old little girl battling this devastating disease, nothing could be more pivotal,” said Bill Strong, Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.

The second piece of legislation, the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act (H.R.4124), was introduced with Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) to assist states in streamlining their certification requirements for veterans with military emergency medical technician (EMT) training who want to continue their career as an EMT in the civilian workforce.

Currently, many veteran EMTs are required to take classes they have already completed in the military to satisfy the civilian licensure system, needlessly delaying their entry into the civilian workforce. This bipartisan legislation would make the process more efficient and provide grants to states so they can streamline requirements for veterans with military EMT training to become certified civilian EMTs. In doing so, returning veterans will not have to start over at square one in their training and could enter the civilian workforce much sooner.

Capps added, “Our military men and women receive some of the best technical training in emergency medicine – and they prove their skills on the battlefield every day. When they return home, however, experienced military medics are often required to begin their training completely over at the most basic level to receive certification for civilian jobs. This unnecessarily keeps our veterans out of the workforce and withholds valuable medical personnel from our communities, and our legislation would go a long way toward eliminating this roadblock.”

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