Clarksville Online: Lamar Alexander says Senate Health Committee Approves Eight Bipartisan Public Health Bills

Posted on November 2, 2019

On Thursday, October 31st, 2019, the Senate health committee voted on eight bipartisan public health bills, which Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said will “bring new over-the-counter drugs to patients more quickly, ensure we have the nurses we need, and help Americans lead healthier lives.”

“I often suggest Tennesseans look at Washington D.C. like a split screen television. On one side, you have the controversies of the day – Democrat impeachment and the president’s daily tweets,” Senator Alexander said.

“But on the other side, you’ll often see senators working together to achieve results for the American people. That has been the case for this committee,” stated Senator Alexander.

Alexander continued: “We have passed legislation fixing No Child Left Behind; the 21st Century Cures Act to speed the development of new drugs and devices; legislation containing more than 70 proposals from 72 senators to fight the opioid crisis; and earlier this year, the committee passed a package of 54 proposals from 65 senators to reduce what Americans pay out of their own pockets for health care.

“Today, the committee continued to achieve results for the American people, as we voted on 8 bipartisan public health bills that will bring new over-the-counter drugs to patients more quickly, ensure we have the nurses we need, and help Americans lead healthier lives.”

The Senate health committee voted Thursday on the following public health bills:

TICK Act (S. 1657) — Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.): This bill will authorize centers of excellence and grants to states to improve the prevention of and response to diseases transmitted by vectors like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. The legislation will also require a national strategy to ensure federal agencies coordinate to combat these diseases. 

Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 2619) — Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): This bill will help reduce infant mortality rates and improve access to care to give babies the best opportunity at living long, healthy lives.

Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (S. 1399) — Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.): This bill will update and reauthorize programs that help ensure we have the trained nurses we need.

Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 995) — Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.): This bill will continue support for state programs that give a break to the 45 million Americans who provide care for a family member with special needs.

Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act (S. 1130) — Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.): This bill will provide grants to help states better understand the causes of sudden unexpected infant and child deaths in order to identify ways to prevent them in the future. 

Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act (S. 1608) — Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): This bill will require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to routinely update its recommendations on exercise. 

United States Public Health Service Modernization Act of 2019 (S. 2629) — Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.): This bill will allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a ready reserve of public health professionals to ensure we are prepared to respond to a national or public health emergency.

Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2019 (S. 2740­) — Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.): This bill will modernize the way over-the-counter medications are regulated and brought to market. The reforms aim to protect public health and encourage the development of new products to better meet the needs of patients.