Smith, NJ Breast Cancer Survivors Team Up for New Legislative Push
Smith Receives “Certificate of Excellence” for Legislative Leadership
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), today met with New Jersey breast cancer patients and survivors who also serve as representatives of the leading grassroots advocacy group, the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Together they discussed additional ways the federal government can and should help advance research, education and awareness into breast cancer.U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), today met with New Jersey breast cancer patients and survivors who also serve as representatives of the leading grassroots advocacy group, the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Together they discussed additional ways the federal government can and should help advance research, education and awareness into breast cancer.
"Through tireless advocacy the National Breast Care Coalition, along with many other grassroots organizations have helped lead the way in combating this terrible disease. This groundswell of support has led to an increase in federal funding into breast cancer research and education and hopefully one day soon—to a cure," said Smith.
At the meeting, representatives of the NBCC and breast cancer survivors—including 4th district residents Kim Casamassima, Millstone, NJ; Charlotte Harper-Sykes, Trenton, NJ; and New Jersey residents Judy and Allen Wexler from Vorhees, NJ, discussed with Smith legislation currently pending in Congress including the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (HR 1157/S 579). This legislation—cosponsored by Smith—would establish a national strategy for investigating the impact of environmental factors on the development of breast cancer; and preservation of the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program, which provides Medicaid coverage to low-income, uninsured women screened and diagnosed with breast cancer through a federal program. Smith expressed his dismay that HR 1157 has yet to be voted on in this session of Congress and assured the group that he will fight on the bill’s behalf. "I will be writing a letter to Committee Chairman John Dingell asking for this bill’s immediate consideration," said Smith.
The NBCC representatives also expressed their appreciation for Rep. Smith’s legislative action last year in signing onto a letter to support funding of $150 million for the Department of Defense (DOD) peer-reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP). Smith informed them that he has already signed onto a similar letter in support of the program again this year.
It was for these and other legislative actions that the group presented Smith with a “Certificate of Excellence” from the NBCC in recognition of his votes and initiatives in 2007 on important breast cancer legislation and Congress’ health care priorities.
In a news release, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fran Visco remarked, "Breast cancer is a political issue - not just a scientific and medical one. Politicians must know that they will be held accountable for their action - or inaction - on breast cancer and health reform public policy. This Congressional Record can help voters do that."
"Thankfully, breast cancer rates are decreasing nationally, yet in New Jersey, our state still has one of the highest breast cancer prevalence rates in the nation," Smith said.
"As I have in the past, I will continue to support legislative initiatives and federal funding aimed at programs to help screen for and combat breast cancer, as well as one day eradicate this deadly disease once and for all," said Smith.