WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Both houses of Congress have finally passed a long-stalled measure to require better tracking of infant deaths across the nation. President Obama will almost certainly sign it, since he wanted such a bill back when he was in the Senate.

The idea, as expressed repeatedly by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, is to have standardized investigative protocols and health-system reporting for every infant and childhood death. This would allow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other health researchers to better analyze data and spot trends that parents, doctors and caregivers could address.

No lawmakers said publicly that they were against the idea of saving babies. Yet the bill was stuck in a legislative logjam for the last six years, frustrating backers, especially those in states with high infant-mortality rates. Ohio leads the nation in African-American infant mortality and is third in the nation for infant mortality in general, according to Brown. 

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