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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is touting the decision to revise the final 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  A provision has been eliminated that would have expressly permitted federal contractors subsidized by U.S. taxpayers to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people.  Esty, a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, was one of 89 House Democrats to write to leaders of the House Armed Services Committee calling for the language to be removed. A vote on a revised bill is expected in the House on Friday.


Esty is touting the inclusion of initiatives for central and northwest Connecticut in the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act.  The comprehensive health care package will be voted on today by the House.  Esty says the grant programs authorized in this agreement will help cities and towns prevent more people from succumbing to opioid addiction.  She says they will also help families get the assistance they need to recover, move forward, and put their lives back together. 


The final agreement authorizes a new account within the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants to states to fight opioid addiction. The agreement authorizes $1 billion in funding over a period of 10 years.


The agreement includes several measures to improve research, development, and administration of life-saving drugs and medical treatments. Esty co-sponsored three pieces of legislation included in the measure.  The Advancing Research and Neurological Diseases Act is aimed at improving federal data collection on the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s.  The Tick-Borne Disease Research Accountability and Transparency Act calls on federal agencies, medical professionals, and patient advocates to collaborate on a plan of action to improve treatments for Lyme disease. 


Portions of the Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act would expand access to childhood mental health resources by incentivizing doctors, through student loan reimbursements, to enter the pediatric mental health subspecialty.

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Dave Rinelli
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