The House Committee on Appropriations unanimously approved an amendment on Tuesday that would grant British baby Charlie Gard and his parents permanent residency in the United States, according to CNN.
Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease, has been a patient at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London since November. The hospital has said that Charlie is terminally ill and is seeking to remove his life support so he can “die with dignity.”
Charlie’s parents — Chris Gard and Connie Yates — have challenged the hospital in court, arguing that their son should be released into their custody so they can bring him to the United States for an experimental treatment. They raised almost $2 million to bring Charlie to the United States.
The case gained a great deal of international attention after Pope Francis and President Donald Trump offered their support to 11-month-old Charlie. The Vatican’s children’s hospital and New York Presbyterian Hospital both offered to treat Charlie, but the offers were rejected by the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Multiple members of Congress have sought ways to bring Charlie to the United States for treatment, including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who introduced the amendment.
“Parents have the most at stake when it comes to standing up for their children and right now, we have an incredible opportunity to stand with a family and save a child’s life,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement. “This amendment would speed up the process, cut through the bureaucratic red tape, and ease the path for Charlie to be able to receive medical treatment in the U.S. that his parents and medical specialists believe is worth pursuing.”
CNN noted that the amendment is attached to “a controversial bill” that includes money for the construction of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall and “could take a significant amount of time to be voted into law, if it is at all.”
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) have also introduced legislation that would grant Charlie and his parents lawful permanent status in the United States.
A judge permitted an American neuroscientist, Dr. Michio Hirano, to examine Charlie on Monday. According to multiple reports, Hirano wants to treat Charlie with an experimental therapy. His evaluation of the baby will help inform a judge who is set to rule in the ongoing legal battle next week.