House overwhelmingly passes medical spending proposal
The House easily approved a medical-innovation bill Wednesday that fasttracks regulatory approval of groundbreaking drugs, ushers in bipartisan mental health reforms and provides $1 billion to tackle America’s prescription-painkiller and heroin epidemic.
The $6.3-billion package enjoys support from the White House and passed on a 392-26 vote, heaping pressure on the Senate to follow suit despite concerns from progressives who say the bill still shortchanges underfunded agencies and amounts to a “handout” for drug companies.
The legislation, dubbed 21st Century Cures, provides nearly $5 billion for the National Institutes of Health to accelerate research into major diseases, including $1.8 billion for Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s “moonshot” project on cancer, and $500 million for the Food and Drug Administration to make its approval process more efficient.
“The clock is ticking. Patients don’t have time. They want answers, they want cures,” said Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and Energy and Commerce Committee chairman.
However, Senate Democrats complain that it offers no financial relief to consumers struggling with skyrocketing prescription drug prices. “We don’t have a bill yet, OK?” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said.
She said the note was sent in response to concerns about clutter.
“During this process, they identified a fully closed cardboard box containing a dismantled Christmas tree along with other stored holiday decor. An email was sent in an effort to identify the owner of the box, and it was claimed shortly thereafter,” she said.
But another supervisor had issued an urgent memo that some employees called evidence of “tone deaf” management on whitewashing Christmas.