House passes bill aimed at ensuring flu vaccine availability

Taxable vaccines are those that are assessed a 75 cents-per-shot excise tax. That tax is used to fund compensation when the use of a vaccine causes injury or death, and applying the excise tax to new vaccines is therefore a critical step that has to be taken before they can be sold.

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Under current law, vaccines attacking three strains of the flu are assessed the excise tax, and the bill the House passed today adds a fourth.

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and others said the bill does not increase the cost of flu shots at all and would only allow the fourth vaccine to benefit from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. People receiving the new vaccine would still pay the 75 cents-per-shot they pay now.

"This legislation does not create any new taxes," Gerlach said.

Later in the day, the House approved another suspension bill: H.R. 1896, the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act. The bill implements a treaty the Senate approved in 2010 that will allow all 50 states to recognize child support orders from other countries, and allow other countries to allow U.S. orders.

Members passed this bill 394-27.

— This story was updated at 6:54 p.m. to add the second vote.

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