Congressional Hearings and Bills Introduced: Opioid Abuse, WASPs' Burial Bill; INSPIRE Act, Training and Counseling to Women Entrepreneurs
House Approves Burial Bill for Women Pilots
On March 22, the House approved, 385-0, H.R. 4336, the Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) Arlington Inurnment Restoration Act, sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ). The House Veterans' Affairs Committee approved the legislation in February (see The Source, 2/26/16).
Currently, WASPs are not eligible for burial at cemeteries under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, such as Arlington National Cemetery.
House Supports INSPIRE Women Act
On March 22, the House approved, 380-3, H.R. 4755, the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA).
Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), House Small Business Committee
The legislation directs the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to encourage women and girls to "study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, pursue careers in aerospace, and further advance the nation’s space science and exploration efforts through" its NASA GIRLS, Aspire to Inspire, and Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research (SISTER) programs.
Bill to Support Entrepreneurship by Women Scientists Clears House
On March 22, the House approved, 383-4, H.R. 4742, the Promoting Women Entrepreneurship Act, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).
The measure finds that while women make up 50 percent of the workforce, they constitute only 25 percent of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. The bill would authorize the National Science Foundation to "encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world."
Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act
On March 23, the House Small Business Committee approved, by voice vote, H.R. 207, the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act, sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY).
As amended, the bill seeks to reauthorize and modernize the Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), and Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) programs. Among other provisions, the bill would reauthorize the WBCs program through 2020 and establish an accreditation process that would hold WBCs nationwide to the same standards.
WBCs provide training and counseling to women entrepreneurs.
Human Trafficking Report
On March 22, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing, “Get It Right This Time: A Victims-Centered Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.” The hearing sought to address the concern that changes made to the tier rankings in the 2015 TIP Report were politically motivated.
The subcommittee held a similar hearing on November 4, focusing on the 2015 TIP report and the process behind the tier rankings of certain countries (see The Source, 11/6/15).
The following witnesses testified:
- Mark P. Lagon, president, Freedom House;
- Matthew Smith, executive director, Fortify Rights;
- Jinhye Jo, president, NKinUSA; and
- Maria Werlau, president, Free Society Project.
Committee Examines Federal Response to Opioid Abuse
On March 22, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing, “America’s Heroin and Opioid Abuse Epidemic.” The hearing focused on federal strategies to address the epidemic of opioid abuse.
“The administration continues to focus on vulnerable populations affected by opioids, including pregnant women and their newborns,” said Michael Botticelli, director, Office of National Drug Control Policy. Mr. Botticelli continued, “When used chronically by pregnant women, both prescription opioids and heroin can cause withdrawal symptoms in newborns at birth; if these opioids were withdrawn during pregnancy, fetal harm could result.”
The following witnesses also testified:
- Lou Milione, deputy assistant administrator, Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration;
- Kana Enomoto, acting administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration;
- Leana Wen, commissioner, Department of Health, Baltimore City; and
- The Honorable Teresa Jacobs, mayor, Orange County, FL.
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