Q&A: 21st Century Cures Act

Q. What is the "21st Century Cures Act?"
Q. Which provisions of the sweeping legislation did you influence before final passage?
Q. How will this bill help Iowans?

Quick Links

This week the Senate passed a bill I authored called the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvement Act. The bill will provide more transparency about the wait times that families are experiencing before being notified about survivor benefits of public safety officers killed in the line of duty. The passage of this bill carries a particularly heavy weight for me and for all Iowans, coming only one month after two central Iowa police officers were ambushed and killed while on patrol. The bill now must be taken up by the House of Representatives.

On Tuesday morning, I met with United States Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will lead the hearings on his appointment. He will receive the fair and thorough vetting process he deserves, as have the last four nominees to be Attorney General. Senator Sessions is an honorable man who cares deeply about the even-handed application of the law. This, along with his knowledge of the Justice Department, will serve him well should he be confirmed. 

I am seeking the immigration and criminal history of the man who launched an attack on Ohio State University's campus Monday, leaving 11 people injured. The student, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who crashed his vehicle into a crowd before getting out and slashing people with a knife, is believed to be a refugee originally from Somalia. In my letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, I am requesting all records related to Artan's background so we can gain a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding his arrival in the United States and the occurrences leading up to these disturbing events. 

I have been working to ensure that inspectors general, the watchdogs within the federal bureaucracy, have access to all the necessary tools to root out waste, fraud and abuse on behalf of the American people. This week, I requested to bring up my legislation, called the Inspector General Empowerment Act, to clarify once and for all that inspectors general are to receive all documents necessary to do the jobs Congress requires of them. More and more federal agencies have begun flouting this oversight, making this legislation more and more important. 

For two years I have been working on legislation, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act to protect and improve the lives of young people involved with our federal juvenile and criminal justice systems. On Wednesday, I took to the Senate floor to request passage of our bipartisan legislation. Sadly, our bill was blocked. But we will continue working to find a path forward to provide a long overdue policy update to the federal juvenile justice program and ensure that it is effectively serving our most vulnerable youth as intended.

On Thursday, I introduced the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016. I've been working on this bipartisan legislation with a Democratic colleague in order to make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter and remove burdensome requirements that inhibit access. The goal is to make hearing aids more easily available, which will increase competition and lead to lower costs.

Post of the Week