House subpanel advances six public health measures

A key House subpanel advanced six bipartisan measures related to public health late Thursday, including a bill designed to speed up federal regulators' approval of new sunscreen ingredients.

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved the legislation in a speedy mark-up just after the chamber's Republicans elected new leaders.

The bills are expected to pass the House with ease given support from Democrats, and highlight efforts by GOP leaders to move health-related measures despite the conference's inaction on an ObamaCare alternative.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) praised the subcommittee as a "workhorse in public health," having approved "dozens" of bills that eventually became law this term.

The bills that now advance to the full committee would: 

-Classify certain potentially dangerous steroids marketed as dietary supplements as controlled substances (H.R. 4771)

-Force regulators to rule on new sunscreen applications on a specific timetable (H.R. 4250)

-Order a review of current research on vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease (H.R. 4701)

-Tweak a landmark law spurring research on muscular dystrophy with new language on the disorder and new directions for gathering data on racial and ethnic disparities (H.R. 594)

-Improve public awareness of sudden unexpected infant death and sudden unexplained death in children, including establishing a grant program for states to improve comprehensive death scene investigations (H.R. 669)

-Reauthorize grant programs that support emergency medical care for children (H.R. 4290)