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Congressional Committees Release Final Draft of 21st Century Cures Act

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Congressional health committee leaders late Friday released a final draft of the 21st Century Cures Act, with the US House of Representatives expected to vote on the sweeping biomedical funding bill this Wednesday.

Key aspects of the proposed legislation include $4.8 billion in additional National Institutes of Health funding over 10 years to support key programs, including $1.4 billion for President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative, $1.8 billion for Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot, and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative. The bill would also provide $500 million to the US Food and Drug Administration.
"The House vote on Wednesday will be an extraordinary opportunity to help almost every American family," House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said in a joint statement. "It will advance President Obama's personalized medicine initiative, Vice-President Biden's Cancer Moonshot, Alzheimer's research, and move many treatments and cures more rapidly and safely through the regulatory process and into doctors' offices."

While the Cures Act was overwhelmingly approved by the House in mid-2015, the Senate HELP opted to vote on separate narrower bills related to the act's different aspects. Earlier this year, it passed a total of 19 bills, although it did not vote on the issue of NIH funding.  

Since then, the bill's progress has stalled as Senate Republicans and Democrats wrangle over how to pay for the legislation's programs. Based on the actions of the health committee, however, it appears that sticking points have largely been worked out.

"We look forward to swift and favorable consideration of the 21st Century Cures Act in both the House and Senate," Upton and Alexander added.