Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lesser known bills making difference

Trauma care bill awaiting president’s signature

April 26, 2007

The 110th Congress has been in session for four months now. Already, we have made some progress on a number of initiatives that are important to Kansans. You might not have seen these in the headlines, but I think they show that the Congress can pass good legislation when it makes common sense.

The first bill I am most proud of is an effort I began in 1997 as a brand new Senator. I introduced a bill to address the concerns I heard from constituents all over the state about the high cost and scarcity of good child care.

The bill provides grants to encourage small businesses to work together or with other local child care agencies to provide child care services for employees. This would allow the local restaurant, the dentist's office and the implement dealer to partner together to help their employees with child care solutions. Small businesses are eligible for grants up to $500,000 for start-up costs, training, scholarships, or other related activities.

We have debated this issue each Congress and finally this year, the Senate approved my proposal as an amendment to the minimum wage bill, which is currently in a conference committee with the House and Senate. I am very hopeful we'll see final passage in the next few months.

Already on the president's desk awaiting his signature is the Trauma Care bill I introduced with Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). Coming from Kansas, I have seen first hand that traumatic injury is all too common in rural areas. In fact, the leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 44 years old is traumatic accidents whether it is from a car or farm accident or a natural disaster like a tornado. Saving the life of a trauma victim requires constant attention to coordinating systems of trauma care in every community in Kansas and throughout the nation.

When accidents occur, the increased funding from my bill will help to ensure that critical help arrives quickly when you need it the most.

And finally, as a father and husband, I am pleased to report we have passed legislation renewing the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The National Breast and Cervical Early Detection Program is a federal and state funded program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It provides free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests for low-income, uninsured or underinsured women. All fifty states have a program in place.

As you know, early detection is a critical component to beating cancer. Through past investments in this program, we have made great strides in better identifying and treating numerous forms of cancer. It was critical to continue and increase the funding for this live saving program. The president is expected to sign this bill shortly.

Each of these initiatives may not garner front page news in the New York Times, but they will make a real difference in the lives, or perhaps in saving the lives, of many Kansans.

If you would like to know more about issues before the Senate, please visit my Web site at for regular updates, or sign up on my home page for a monthly e-newsletter, The Roberts Report.

Pat Roberts in the state's senior senator in the U.S. Senate.

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