Senate Health Committee Approves Bill to Help Keep Animals Healthy, Food Supply Safe

Posted on February 28, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2018—Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that the committee has taken a critical step in updating legislation to help keep our animals healthy after the committee approved a reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration animal drug and generic animal drug user fee agreements. The committee also approved three bipartisan public health bills to encourage pediatric cancer research, support rural health care, and help grandparents raise healthy grandchildren.

“These are four important bipartisan public health bills that will reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration animal drug and generic animal drug user fee agreements, encourage pediatric cancer research, and support rural health care and grandparents raising their grandchildren, which is especially important due to the opioid crisis,” Alexander said.

Alexander continued: “I am glad we have taken the first step today to advance the animal drug and animal generic drug user fee agreements. This is a critical step in ensuring we reauthorize on time the legislation that will help bring new drugs to farmers and ranchers, families, and veterinarians to keep their animals healthy and help keep our food supply safe. If we do not pass this legislation to reauthorize these agreements by the beginning of August, FDA will be required to begin sending layoff notices to more than 115 employees, which will slow down and jeopardize the review and approval of new drugs. I urge the Senate to quickly pass this important legislation.”

The bills approved by committee include:

  • Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) – Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2018 (S. 2434): These agreements, which must be reauthorized before August, help speed safe new animal drugs to farmers and ranchers, families, and veterinarians to keep their animals healthy. These agreements are essential to help ensure the animal drugs on the market are safe and effective for farm animals and pets, and help keep our food supply safe.
  • Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Shelly Capito (R-W.Va.) – Childhood Cancer STAR Act (S.292): If you’re the parent of a child with cancer, this important legislation will encourage pediatric cancer research by building on last year’s RACE for the Children Act and reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee agreements.
  • Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) – State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act of 2018 (S.2278): This bill reauthorizes the State Offices of Rural Health grant program for the first time since its creation in 1992. This grant program supports a focus on rural health in [states/each state that receives funding] in order to strengthen rural health care systems and develop long term solutions to rural health challenges. 
  • Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.) – Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S.1091): If you are a grandparent raising your grandchild, this bill would help you navigate that process by creating a task force, made up of federal agencies and grandparents, to coordinate federal resources and information available to you.