“Democratic” United States Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), has done something positive for a change, passing the bi-partisan CAROL Act named for the wife of Republican Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), who died suddenly in 2020.
Senator Sinema introduced the bill with her chamber colleague, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and it passed unanimously.
The Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy Act will create a grant program to do research on valvular heart disease, which can strike without warning – leading to cardiac arrest and sudden death.
“Too many Arizonans – suddenly without warning or expectation – have lost their lives due to valvular heart disease,” Sinema wrote on her official government website. “I’m proud to partner with Republican Leader McConnell in securing Senate-passage of our bipartisan CAROL Act to fuel medical research and improve treatment options and save lives.”
A legislative companion bill sponsored by Rep. Barr nearly a year ago passed the House in December 2021.
In June 2020, the congressman’s wife, Eleanor “Carol” Leavell Barr, unfortunately, passed away from the disease and the young age of 39.
The CDC reported:
“There are several causes of valvular heart disease, including congenital conditions (being born with it), infections, degenerative conditions (wearing out with age), and conditions linked to other types of heart disease.”
Three of the most common are, rheumatic disease, which can be caused by the bacteria from an untreated strep infection, and cause scarring of the heart valve, endocarditis, which has been associated with intravenous drug use causing an infection on the heart’s inner lining, and congenital heart valve disease.
Irregular heartbeat, chest pain, fever, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath are common signs you could be affected.
According to the medical agency, “Nearly 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are due to heart valve disease from causes other than rheumatic disease.”
The CAROL Act will conduct research on valvular heart disease through a National Institute of Health’s (NIH) grant program.
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute will search for and identify potential factors that put someone at elevated risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
Research that “is necessary to fill knowledge gaps and develop risk and screening criteria,” according to the bill, leads to early detection and treatment that will help save lives.
Sinema’s CAROL Act gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the authority to create public awareness about valvular heart disease.
Those collecting data related to studying the cardiac ailment will be mandated to share their findings with the CDC to publish protocols and courses of action for physicians who work with patients suffering from the silent killer.
The Arizona Senator has made a name for herself since being elected to the federal legislature – but not for the right reasons.
Despite running on a progressive platform that saw her overwhelmingly grab the youth vote, Sinema took a seemingly sharp right turn, frequently joining her colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and voting against key Democratic bills meant to help the American people.
But in this case, she did a good thing.
The Kentucky representative received overwhelming support when passing the House’s version in honor of his deceased wife, a move that will not only preserve the young mother’s legacy, but will work to prevent as many deaths as possible.
“I am grateful to the American Heart Association, WomenHeart, the American College of Cardiology and so many of my colleagues who supported this bill from the start,” Rep. Barr said in a press release.
Senator Sinema is a co-founder of the Personalized Medicine Caucus, a bipartisan legislative group that focuses on prevention, early disease protection, and targeted medical treatments for Arizonans.
“I look forward to getting it passed into law,” she said. “Thank Congressman Barr for championing this effort.”
Sinema has been widely criticized for actions seen as contradictory to what those who supported and voted for her want.
With an evenly split chamber, her vote was often crucial to bring forward legislation needed to get the country on a more progressive track.
But on this issue, it’s fair to give credit where it’s due.
With Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) returning to the Senate, hopefully his colleague will return to the Democratic fold and put forth meaningful legislation that helps all Americans.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick