President Donald Trump continues to sign bills into law during the holiday season, and the most recent one is the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act, which is a proposal from Florida representative Gus Bilirakis. It was passed by the House last week, and the Senate also passed its own version of the bill, which was spearheaded by Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, who lost his own daughter to a heart condition.
Outgoing Democrat Senator Bill Nelson was a cosponsor of the bipartisan Senate bill.
Durbin’s office released a statement explaining that “This legislation will promote federal research on congenital heart defects (CHD) and raise awareness of the impact these health problems have throughout patients’ lives. The Senate-passed Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act increases the funding authorization level for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to $10 million per year, compared to the current funding level of $4 million, which will help states collect data on the prevalence of CHD and understand trends, health care needs, and disparities among the one million children and 1.4 million adults living with CHD.”
In addition, Bilirakis’ office released their own statement on the matter, detailing that “the legislation emphasizes the need for continued biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CHD. NIH will further research the causes of congenital heart defects, including genetic causes, and study long-term outcomes in individuals with CHD of all ages. NIH will also study data to identify effective treatments and outcomes, and identify barriers to lifelong care for individuals with congenital heart defects. CHD is a true public health issue that does not discriminate by race, gender, or socio-economic status. The road ahead may be scary and uncertain for any parent with a newborn who has CHD, but this meaningful legislation gives hope to those coping with the diagnosis. It will also expand the infrastructure to track the epidemiology of congenital heart defects. For the sake of those living with CHD and the estimated 40,000 babies who will be born in the next year with CHD, Congressman Bilirakis made this a priority. Research is key to understanding the causes of CHD, preventing it and improving treatment. The near unanimous passage of this important bill will improve the care of people with CHD at all ages and advance the field in critical areas.”