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House Energy and Commerce Committee Approves Bills on Postpartum Depression, Tobacco Regulation

On March 4, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved, by voice vote, the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Mom’s Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support (MOTHERS) for Postpartum Depression Act (H.R. 20). 

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), would authorize $3 million in FY2009 and “such sums as may be necessary” for FY2010-2011 for the secretary of Health and Human Services to expand research on postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum psychosis. The director of the National Institute for Mental Health would be encouraged to conduct or support research to expand the understanding of the causes of, and to find a cure for, postpartum depression, as well as to study adoption, miscarriage, and abortion-related depression. The measure also would establish a grant program to operate and coordinate care for affected individuals and their families. 

The same day, the committee also approved, 39-13, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1256), sponsored by Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA). The act would authorize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products, including requiring the disclosure of harmful ingredients and mandating larger health warnings. The FDA began drafting a framework for regulating tobacco products in 1996, but the Supreme Court ruled in FDA v. Brown & Williamson (2000) that it lacked the authority to do so.

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