Washington, D.C. – With 2016 coming to a close, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has once again produced results that have enhanced U.S. national security and aided Pennsylvania’s middle class, its seniors and kids.
“Even amidst partisan gridlock, Senator Casey has once again delivered measureable progress for our nation and Pennsylvania families,” Jacklin Rhoads, Senator Casey’s press secretary said. “From passing into law measures to cut off terrorists’ finances to his work to combat the opioid crisis and make sure young children have a fair shot at breakthrough medical treatments, Senator Casey has continued work as a champion for all Pennsylvanians.”
Delivering resources to combat the opioid crisis – Throughout this Congress, Senator Casey has called for funding that would help communities treat those who are struggling with an opioid addiction. As part of a year-end bill, $1 billion in funding will be made available to Pennsylvania and all states. The funding is now law with the signing of the 21st Century Cures Act.
Cracking down on terrorists’ finances in order to defeat ISIS – When it was revealed that the terrorist group ISIS was looting historical artifacts and other antiquities and selling them on the black market to finance their violence, Senator Casey brought Republicans and Democrats together to put a stop to it. Senator Casey passed into law the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act to blunt the black market sale of these lucrative antiquities. This bill was enacted into law as H.R. 1493, which became Public Law 114-151 on May 9, 2016.
Providing care for children born with opioid dependency – Senator Casey passed into law the Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act. This legislation updates and strengthens requirements under federal child abuse prevention law (the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act) designed to protect vulnerable infants affected by substance abuse. This bill was enacted into law as Sec. 503 of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act, and renamed the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act; it was enacted as Public Law 114-198 on July 22, 2016.
Tackling the VA Claims Backlog – In 2013 and 2014, concerns about wait times and backlogs at the Veteran Administration (VA) dominated. Senator Casey met with veterans across Pennsylvania to assess the problem and this year passed into law a sweeping overhaul of the VA’s disability claims process. The 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act passed the Senate on November 10, 2015. This bill was included in H.R. 6416, the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016, which became Public Law 114-315 on December 16, 2016.
Helping sick children get the care they need – Senator Casey led a bipartisan effort to enact into law his legislation, the Advancing Hope Act, which provides a valuable incentive to encourage the development of new drugs to treat serious rare diseases that affect children. Casey’s legislation was part of the 21st Century Cures Act.
Working to reunite lost children with their families – Every year thousands of children go missing, yet an IRS loophole sometimes prevents parents from finding their children. Senator Casey passed into law the Recovering Missing Children Act that would allow taxpayer information from the Internal Revenue Service to be shared with state and local law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigation of missing or exploited children. Senator Casey first introduced this legislation in 2011, and in 2012 with Senator Enzi. This bill was enacted into law as H.R. 3209, which became Public Law 114-184 on June 30, 2016.
Investing in medical research – For years, Senator Casey has met with researchers across Pennsylvania to highlight the need to invest in medical research that saves lives, creates jobs and powers Pennsylvania’s economy. After years of funding cuts, Senator Casey helped to secure a $4.8 billion investment in the National Institutes of Health. The funding, which was made possible by the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act into law, will be available to researchers throughout Pennsylvania and the nation.
Responding to disease outbreaks – In 2014 many lawmakers talked about the Ebola outbreak; Senator Casey went to work. In 2013, Senator Casey passed into law the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, which reauthorized and strengthened the federal government’s response playbook for public health threats, including disease outbreaks. In 2016, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, Senator Casey passed into law the Medical Countermeasure Innovation Act (S. 2055) which further improved and streamlined parts of the law.
Addressing global hunger – Senator Casey passed into law the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) of 2016, S. 1252. The law requires the Administration to develop a whole-of-government strategy to address global food insecurity and hunger. The strategy would emphasize agricultural development, improving maternal and child nutrition, building the resilience of communities, and civil society engagement. The GFSA was signed into law as Public Law 114-195 on July 20, 2016.
Keeping prison officers safe – The Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act. This legislation, named after a fallen prison officer in Northeastern Pennsylvania, requires the Bureau of Prisons to dispense pepper spray to all correctional workers in medium and high security federal correctional facilities who may be required to respond to an inmate emergency. This bill also includes a training requirement for employees authorized to carry pepper spray. Finally, the legislation directs the Government Accountability Office to report on the effectiveness of the pepper spray program and whether it should be implemented in low or minimum security facilities. This bill was passed in the Senate on December 16, 2015, passed in the House on February 24, 2016, and signed into law on March 9, 2016, as Public Law 114-133.