The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has announced that, upon their return to Washington after the annual August recess vacation, the US House of Representatives passed by voice vote HR 1334, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act (EHDI) reauthorization legislation. ASHA reports that this legislation reauthorizes the federal portion of this important and successful initiative for the next five years.
Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Lois Capps (D-CA), who are the original sponsors of the legislation, led the charge of moving the bill forward to get a vote in the House. Now that EHDI has passed the House, it will need to have a companion bill introduced and passed by the US Senate, and then it must be signed by the President to be reauthorized.
According to ASHA, early hearing detection and intervention grants were first authorized in the Newborn Infant Hearing Screening and Intervention Act of 1999, which was incorporated into the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2000 and signed into law. That law provided federal funds for state grants to develop infant hearing screening and intervention programs. The following year, Congress reauthorized these grants through the Children’s Health Act of 2000 (PL 106-310) and included provisions related to early hearing screening and evaluation of all newborns, coordinated intervention, rehabilitation services, and research. In 2010, Congress passed the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2010, which authorized these programs through 2015.