Congress at Work: Advancing Healthcare Initiatives, Small Business Funding and Protecting the Elderly from Scams
The Congress at Work series of articles is designed to give you a glimpse of various types of legislation currently under consideration. While either the Senate or the House of Representatives may initiate a bill proposal, be aware that many bills never become law. They may never make it out of committee, be blocked by a Senate filibuster, be delayed, lack sufficient votes, never be agreed upon by the two houses, or be vetoed by the president.¬†
FASTER Act of 2021 (HR 578) ‚Äì This bill expands the definition of major food allergens for food-labeling purposes to include sesame. It is designed to protect Americans with food allergies and related disorders that could be affected by anaphylaxis, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, and eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases. It also authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to report on food allergy research and data collection activities. The bill was introduced by Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) on March 3. It was passed by Congress on April 14 and is currently awaiting enactment by the president.¬†
Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act of 2021 (S 164) ‚Äì This bill was introduced by Sen. Margaret Hassan (D-NH) on Feb. 2. The legislation requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to educate and promote awareness about biological products and biosimilars among healthcare providers. The FDA may also host a website to provide educational materials. This bill was passed by Congress on April 14 and is awaiting signature by the president.¬†
TRANSPLANT Act of 2021 (HR 941) ‚Äì This bill reauthorizes the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which makes genetically matched cord blood stem cells available to patients who need them. The legislation was re-introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) on Feb. 8 and passed in the House on April 15. It is currently under consideration in the Senate.¬†
504 Credit Risk Management Improvement Act of 2021 (HR 1482) ‚Äì Introduced by Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) on March 2, this bill passed in the House on April 16 and goes to the Senate next for consideration. It amends the Small Business Act to require the administrator of the Small Business Administration to issue rules relating to environmental obligations of certified development companies and for other purposes.¬†
504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act of 2021 (HR 1490) ‚Äì This bill was introduced by Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) on March 2 and passed in the House on April 15. It is currently under consideration in the Senate. The bill would amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to improve the loan guaranty program in order to enhance the ability of small manufacturers to access affordable capital. In addition, the bill adds policy goals such as facilitating reduced costs via energy-efficient products, generating renewable energy, and providing aid to revitalize disaster areas. The bill also would increase the maximum loan amount from $5.5 million to $6.5 million for small manufacturers and reduce the amount that they must contribute to project costs, among other provisions. The legislation authorizes each SBA district office to engage a resource partner to provide training for small manufacturers.¬†
Fraud and Scam Reduction Act (HR 1215) ‚Äì This bill would establish an office within the Federal Trade Commission and an outside advisory group for the purpose of preventing fraud that specifically targets the elderly, including mail, telephone, and internet scams. Furthermore, the bill would form a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group to create educational materials for distribution to employees of retailers, financial services, and wire-transfer companies to help them identify and prevent scams that affect older adults. The FTC also would establish an advisory office within the Bureau of Consumer Protection to monitor scams targeting older adults, educate consumers, and receive complaints. The bill was introduced by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) on Feb. 23. This bill passed in the House on April 15 and goes to the Senate next for consideration.