On July 16, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, the Carolyn Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act (H.R. 1553), clearing the bill for the president’s signature. The House passed the bill on June 12 (see The Source, 6/13/08).
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said, “There are problems with this bill. One is that it has a registry at the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. There are already two registries now at the [National Institutes of Health]…The second thing is, as we direct $30 million to this outside of what they are already doing, that means $30 million isn’t going to be available for childhood or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, isn’t going to be available for juvenile diabetes where there might be greater hopes of saving more children and making greater impact. I have great reservations when we start making the decisions on where the scientific inquiry ought to go and it is not connected at all with real science or peer-reviewed science. However…I am going to allow this. I will not object. I will not object on this bill so this bill will be a great last accomplishment for [Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH)]. It will be a fitting tribute to her daughter and all the other children. But, I will tell you, we will get less, not more, by doing this in terms of the research and the benefit for the children who have childhood cancer in this country.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “I want to express my appreciation to the Senator from Oklahoma for the judgment he has made in letting Sen. [Jack] Reed’s [(D-RI)] bill pass tonight. I know the Senator from Oklahoma cares very deeply about the health care of our young people. He and I served on the health subcommittee in the other body. We can have debates about the merits of specific ways to address health issues. I share the view of the Senator from Oklahoma with respect to making sure there is not a meddling by politicians in scientific matters. But, tonight, on this legislation, legislation that has passed the other body 416 to 0, the judgment that has been made by the Senator from Oklahoma is in the interests of all of the youngsters of our country who are suffering so greatly, and their families.”