November 14, 2013 — The House on Tuesday passed a bill (HR 541) by voice vote that would reauthorize funding for research programs on preterm births and preterm labor, CQ Roll Call reports. The Senate passed its version (S 252) by voice vote on Sept. 25.
The legislation would extend through fiscal year 2018 current federal programs aimed at preventing preterm labor and decreasing pregnancy-related deaths and infant mortality. The bill would lower funding for research on preterm labor from $5 million annually to $1.9 million annually, according to CQ Roll Call.
The House version would establish a National Pediatric Research Network, which would train researchers and address unmet needs in the field. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), who sponsored the House version, said, "Though we have made progress in addressing preterm births in this country, one in eight babies is still born premature, and prevention remains a challenge due to the poorly understood causes of preterm birth" (Khalid, CQ Roll Call, 11/12).