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Assembling a Bill, Once Piece at a Time

The bulk of the biomedical innovation bills in front of the US Senate have made their way through the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, ScienceInsider reports. When assembled together, they'll form the Senate companion to the House of Representatives' 21st Century Cures Act, which it passed last summer.

A sticking point, however, remains, ScienceInsider notes. The Senate cannot agree on how much of a spending increase to provide to the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. The House version of the bill calls for $8.75 billion in mandatory spending for NIH, but many Republican senators are opposed to mandatory spending and some Democratic senators say that they will only support a bill with such funding.

However, ScienceInsider notes that the head of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees the NIH budget, Roy Blount (R-Mo.) has now indicated that he might be open to "surge" funding in which increased funding is funneled to certain projects.

The committee is now assembling these bills into one package, ScienceInsider adds, and the final bill could be ready this week.