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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. MILLER. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer my amendment to H.R. 2740. My amendment would increase the funding for neonatal abstinence syndrome research by $2 million at the Centers for Disease Control to ensure adequate funding for this terrible condition.

The opioid epidemic plaguing our Nation is heartbreaking, and especially in my home State of West Virginia. Too many members of our communities know of its devastating effects far too well. Whether it be a family member, a friend, the person in line behind you at the grocery store, or even someone praying beside you in church, we all have seen the pain that it causes.

Sadly, many of our youngest citizens are suffering from the second- generation impacts of this crisis as well. West Virginia has one of the highest rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is the withdrawal symptoms experienced by infants who are exposed to opioids and other addictive drugs while inside the womb. For every 1,000 babies born in my State, 50 enter this world exposed to drugs.

In my hometown of Huntington, we are blessed to have facilities that are dedicated to caring for babies suffering from NAS, like the neonatal therapeutic unit at the Hoops Family Children's Hospital and Lily's Place, where First Lady Melania Trump made a very special visit last year.

I visited the hospital to see these beautiful, innocent babies who are battling insurmountable odds. My heart aches as they cry in pain, shivering and shaking. I see the care in the eyes of the doctors and the nurses who tend to them 24 hours a day, and I can feel the love from the volunteers who cuddle these tiny children and soothe them through the worst moments of their early lives.

There is still so much more to do. My colleagues, I stand before you to tell you that, today, we can do more. I ask you all to support my amendment to double the funding of NAS research and to improve the lives of our most precious and struggling citizens.

This is so very important to our little tiny babies who are exposed to the terrible epidemic that we have going on across our country, and I urge Members, please adopt my amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


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