Appropriators Focus Quietly On Omnibus Spending Bill

Also in the news, the Senate approves legislation to reauthorize federal research and intervention activities to lower the rate of premature births.

Politico: Appropriations Panels Quietly Work On Omnibus
Talks on the giant labor, education and health chapter are lagging because the chief House Republican negotiator, Rep. Denny Rehberg, was preoccupied so long with his Senate campaign in Montana. But enough progress has been made overall that even a reluctant White House is beginning to take notice of the committees' persistence. Indeed, if the fiscal cliff debt talks end up requiring more cuts from discretionary spending, an updated omnibus would be a far better vehicle for implementing new savings than the six-month stopgap bill that is keeping the government funded (Rogers, 11/18).

The Hill: Senate Passes Bill To Help Prevent Premature Birth
The Senate reauthorized federal research and intervention activities on premature births in a voice vote Thursday night. The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act continues programs established by the 2006 bill, which made the study and prevention of premature births an explicit federal priority. "The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act will save infants’ lives," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, in a statement. "Preterm birth rates have now dropped for five consecutive years after rising steadily for three decades. The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act will continue to fuel our progress by supporting federal research and promoting known interventions and community initiatives" (Viebeck, 11/16).

CQ HealthBeat: Senate Backs Research Bill On Premature Birth
The Senate passed a measure Thursday to reauthorize research on pre-term labor and infant mortality. The bill, passed by voice vote, would authorize a four-year extension of a law authorizing programs to decrease the risk of pre-term labor, pregnancy-related deaths and infant mortality. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced the measure by voice vote in September. Before passing the bill, the chamber gave unanimous consent approval to a Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., substitute amendment that would strike provisions to allow the National Institutes of Health to expand, intensify and coordinate its research on the causes of pre-term labor and premature infants. Under the amended bill, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be allowed, not required, to conduct studies on factors relating to premature births. The measure also would allow the department to establish an advisory committee on infant mortality to provide recommendations on programs and strategies that address the issue (Khatami, 11/16).

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