WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Caucus, celebrated Senate passage of their bipartisan resolution to designate February 2024 as American Heart Month. The resolution reaffirms the government’s commitment to fighting cardiovascular disease by supporting research; improving access to affordable, quality care to reduce long-term disability and mortality; and recognizing and championing efforts to address the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular health and mortality rates.

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“As the leading cause of death in the U.S., heart disease has touched nearly every American family. We must put forward a concerted effort to research and treat those suffering from cardiovascular diseases,” said Durbin. “I’m encouraged that my Senate colleagues saw the value in raising awareness around the damaging impacts of cardiovascular disease by passing my resolution with Senator Crapo. I hope together we can use the month of February to build support for our efforts.”

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“Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in Idaho and in the United States. We can all make changes to our lifestyle that will decrease our risk of heart disease, as well as the risk to our family members. As co-chair of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, I encourage individuals to make this month and the rest of 2024 a time to improve their health for themselves and their family,” said Crapo.

In 2021, cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of more than 695,000 Americans, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Cardiovascular disease disproportionately affects women and communities of color, and the rate of cardiovascular disease has been growing faster than anticipated due in part to the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased awareness of cardiovascular disease can lead to prevention or treatment, ultimately saving thousands of lives annually.

Durbin is a strong advocate for advancing research and treatments for cardiovascular diseases, particularly through his work on the Senate Committee on Appropriations to secure increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2018, Durbin passed his bipartisan Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act, which extended data collection, research, and awareness efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for congenital heart defects, the most common and deadliest birth defect. Since the passage of the 2018 bill, Durbin has increased appropriations for the cause from $4 million to $8.25 million. Earlier this month, Durbin introduced the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2024, which would reauthorize funding for the CDC’s Congenital Heart Disease program to address congenital heart defects for the next five years.

A copy of the resolution can be found here.

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