Mrs. CAPPS. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration.
Mrs. CAPPS. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of Senate bill 1858, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act. This legislation would facilitate the creation of Federal guidelines on newborn screening and would assist State newborn screening programs in meeting these guidelines.
Newborn screening is used for early identification of infants affected by certain genetic, metabolic, hormonal, and functional conditions for which there may be an effective treatment or intervention. If left untreated, these disorders can cause death, disability, mental retardation and other serious conditions. Every year, more than 4 million infants are born and screened [Page: H2041]
to detect conditions that could threaten their lives and their long-term health.
Senate bill 1858 will educate parents and health care providers about newborn screening. It will improve follow-up care for infants when illness is detected, and it will help States expand and improve their newborn screening programs.
It is very important to note that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a markup of House companion legislation H.R. 3825, which was introduced by my colleague, LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD. And I want to say a word of commendation toward LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD, who has really worked diligently over quite a period of time to make sure that this bill reached the floor today. She couldn't be here to speak on behalf of the legislation, but I know that there has been a great deal
of leadership that has brought us to this point today.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee amended H.R. 3825 to ensure that it was identical to the Senate bill, 1858, which has already passed the Senate by unanimous consent. And so the good work of our friend, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, has brought us to this point and to the commitment that I share on this important piece of legislation.
I appreciate all of her efforts to carry this legislation forward and admire her dedication to helping the children and families affected by these conditions.
I urge all of my colleagues to join in support of Senate bill 1858.
I reserve the remainder of my time.
Mr. DEAL of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Newborn screening can certainly identify children at risk for certain metabolic and genetic diseases for which there may be an effective treatment. If it is detected early it is certainly a cost-saving way of dealing with these problems that can lead to death, disability, mental retardation and many other serious conditions.
Currently, States have differing policies and procedures for doing newborn screening. Accurate screening ensures affected babies are identified and receive the proper care.
This legislation establishes a newborn screening education and outreach program at the Department of Health and Human Services in order to improve newborn screening. Many parents of newborns are not aware of the wide variety of screening tests that are available. Thus, the legislation would establish a clearinghouse of educational and family support and services information on newborn screening in order to provide resources for those families.
This legislation moved through our committee in a bipartisan process and the majority and the minority were able to reconcile a few differences on the legislation in that committee process. I would ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this important bill.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. REYNOLDS. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia.
Madam Speaker, as one of the chief sponsors of the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, I rise today in strong support of Senate 1858 and urge its passage. I would like to extend my thanks to Chairman Dingell and Ranking Member Barton for working together to get this bill to the floor today.
This bill is a tribute to children and their parents who have had to face the pain of experiencing a disease that wasn't caught by newborn screening. Each year, over 4 million children are routinely tested at birth for genetic disorders. But what so many parents don't realize is that the actual number of conditions that their child is screened for depends on the State they live in. A child's life in one State should never mean more or less than a child's life in another.
Every child born with a disease, whether it is common or rare, should receive early diagnosis and treatment. That is why we need the Newborn Screening Laws Saves Lives Act signed into law and adequately funded. Through this legislation, we cannot only educate parents about lifesaving tests available for their newborn child, but greatly expand the screening programs at the State level.
Left untreated, many disorders are life-threatening or can cause serious mental and physical disabilities. Early detection through screening can lessen effects or even completely prevent progression of many disorders by providing for immediate medical intervention.
My State of New York has long been a national leader in newborn screening, starting in 1960 when Dr. Robert Guthrie developed the first newborn screening tests in Buffalo, New York. New York now tests each child for 44 different conditions.
In 2004, the American College of Medical Genetics completed a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which recommended at a minimum every baby born in the United States be screened for a core set of 29 treatable disorders. Currently, only 19 States and the District of Columbia require infants to be screened for all 29 of the recommended disorders. It is my sincere hope through grants and research funding provided for in the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, every
State will be able to coordinate their newborn screening tests in order to bring consistency across the country.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the strong bipartisan efforts of my colleagues LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD, MIKE SIMPSON, and HENRY WAXMAN. They have long fought for life saving changes to newborn screening it, and it has been a pleasure working with them to achieve its consideration today.
I would like to thank Jill and Jim Kelly and Jacque Waggoner from Western New York for their tireless advocacy on behalf of enhanced newborn screening and for the tremendous efforts to raise public awareness about this vital issue.
Madam Speaker, I urge a ``yes'' vote on the bill.
Mr. DEAL of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I have no other requests for time. I urge the adoption of the resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.