Childhood Cancer Bill Cleared for President's Signature
On July 16, the U.S. Senate voted to pass HR 1553, the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2008. HR 1553 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 15, 2007 by Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH). A companion bill, S. 911, was introduced in the Senate by Congressman Jack Reed (D-RI) 4 days later.
The legislation authorizes the allocation of $30 million per year from fiscal year 2009 through 2013 to support pediatric cancer research, establish a childhood cancer database, and provide information about the diseases to affected families. Despite the authorization levels specified in the bill, HR 1553 does not appropriate the $30 million. Funding for the programs described in the bill must come from the existing budget or new appropriations.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up the bill on May 7, at which time Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) proposed an amendment to ensure that the public awareness provisions in the bill would be culturally and linguistically appropriate for minority and medically underserved patients and families. This amendment also renamed the bill in honor of Representative Pryce's daughter, who died of cancer in 1999 at age 9.
The bill was overwhelmingly supported in the House and passed on June 12 by roll call vote, 416-0. The measure then passed the Senate by unanimous consent and will now be sent to the President for his signature.