The H.R. 2094 bill for School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, was introduced by Representative David P. Roe. Representative Roe is from Tennessee’s 1st congressional district and he currently sits on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He is also the Chairman of Subcommittee for Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions and is a member of the following Subcommittees: Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education; Health; and Oversights and Investigations. Representative Roe is considered a far-right Republican leader by GovTrack’s own analysis of bill sponsorship (Rep. David “Phil” Roe). The bill has 36 cosponsers, 16 of which are Republican and 20 who are Democrats. This bill aims to amend the Public Health Service Act to give preference in awarding certain asthma-related grants to States that agree to establish school-based emergency epinephrine programs that meet specific requirements. These requirements include: Maintaining an emergency supply of epinephrine, permit trained personnel of the school to administer epinephrine, and have a plan for ensuring trained personnel are available to administer epinephrine during all hours of the school day (Congressional). There is need for this legislation because nearly 6 million children have food allergies, and many of them have had severe reactions and a study in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests these rates are rising (Food Allergies).
H.R. 2094 was introduced in the House on May 22, 2013 and on May 24, 2013 was referred to the Subcommittee on Health. Before any floor action can take place on a bill, the bill must first go to the proper committee for deliberation; in this case it was the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. During deliberation, the committee will usually refer the bill to one of its subcommittees and in this case again, it was the Subcommittee on Health. In the subcommittee, they can have hearings, listen to expert testimony and amend the proposed legislation before referring the bill to the full committee for consideration (Ginsberg et al. 288). On July 16th and 17th, H.R. 2094 was considered by the committee during mark-up sessions and on July 17th was ordered to be reported by unanimous consent. On July 30, 2013 it was reported by the Committee on Energy and Commerce and placed on the Union Calendar. “The full committee may accept the recommendations of the subcommittee or hold its own hearings and prepare its own amendments” (Ginsberg et al. 288). Later that day, the Committee did exactly that and held a forty minute debate, during which time, cosponsor Representative Michael Burgess from Texas and cosponsor Representative G.K. Butterfield from North Carolina were each given twenty minutes to speak. Mr. Burgess took the opportunity to give his support and urge his colleagues to vote for the bill. Mr. Butterfield also urged his colleagues to vote for, but also introduced the bill’s author, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. Mr. Hoyer than gave a personal testimony regarding his grandmother who is severely allergic to peanuts and explained the incredible vulnerabilities of people with food allergies (Congressional). After the discussions, the House agreed by voice vote to pass the bill. On July 31, 2013, the bill was received in the Senate where it was read twice and then referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. After 3 months, on October 30, 2013, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions ordered it to be reported without any amendments. The following day, October 31, 2013, the bill passed the Senate without any amendment and by unanimous consent. On November 1, 2013, the message on Senate action was sent to the House and on November 6, 2013, the bill was presented to the President. Even though the bill has made it this far, there is no guarantee that it will be enacted into law. At this point, it is up to the president to decide to sign it into law or veto it. H.4. 2094 has a good number of cosponsors, is being endorsed by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM). I believe it has a good shot of becoming law, especially since the Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementing H.R. 2094 would not have a significant impact on the federal budget. Furthermore, since the bill concerns the well-being of school aged children and does not seem to burden the federal budget, it seems like a good bill for representatives and congress to stand behind. Cosponsoring this bill would Representatives and Congress in good light with constituents that have families and young children in public schools. Political party can influence Congress’ decisions through the use of the following resources: Leadership PACs, Committee Assignments, access to the floor, the whip system, logrolling and the presidency (Ginsberg et al. 294). Both Democrat and Republican parties use money from leadership PACs to fund candidates running for elections and money definitely influences elections, so the more money you have available, the greater the chances of being elected. With committee assignments, some leaders give prestigious assignments to House members, but these assignments come with strings attached. Ginsberg states: “Nevertheless, if the leadership goes out of its way to get the right assignment for a member, this effort is likely to create a bond of obligation that can be called upon without any other payments or favors” (295). The “access to the floor” resource gives the Speaker of the House and the majority leader in the Senate the power to decide who will or will not speak on certain issues. This resource can be used strategically to block specific legislation. The whips in each house of Congress are responsible for keeping track of the number of votes and to learn what the members intentions are on specific bills and pass this information back to their party leaders, so that they can put pressure on the undecided members to either pass or stop a bill.
"Congressional Record113th Congress (2013-2014)." Congressional Record. The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. "Food Allergies in Schools." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. Ginsberg, Benjamin, Theodore J. Lowi, Margaret Weir, Caroline J. Tolbert, Robert J. Spitzer. We the People: An Introduction To American Politics. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013. Print. "Rep. David "Phil" Roe." GovTrack.us. GovTrack.us, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.