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Senate Education Committee to Consider EpiPen Bill, Department Nominations

By Alyson Klein — October 29, 2013 1 min read
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States would get an extra incentive to help kids cope with anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions, under a bill slated for consideration by the Senate education committee tomorrow.

Under the bipartisan legislation, which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in July, states that adopt policies to make epinephrine available in schools would get a leg-up in securing federal grants for addressing asthma. The measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the House minority whip, and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., passed on a voice vote—which is how Congress typically dispenses with non-controversial legislation that has a lot of cross-aisle love and support.

So far, sixteen states have enacted laws this year making it easier for schools to stock epinephrine (one well-known brand is EpiPen), according to this Associated Press story. And eleven already had such laws on the books.

But not everyone is a fan of the bill. The American Association of School Administrators worries that it could make it harder for districts in states that don’t have epinephrine laws to get federal dollars. Much more on this from Ross Brenneman of Rules for Engagement fame.

The epinephrine bill is the only thing on the Senate education committee’s to-do list tomorrow. Lawmakers will also consider two nominations at the U.S. Department of Education—one for Michael Yudin, as assistant secretary of special education and rehabilitative services, and one for James Cole, as general counsel.

The bill and the nominations are expected to sail smoothly through the committee. UPDATE: As expected, the bill and nominations were easily approved and now proceed to the Senate floor. And on Friday, the full Senate approved the legislation. It now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.