Alexander: Leader McConnell Announces Senate on Monday Will Take Up “Most Important Legislation of the Year”

Senate vote on 21st Century Cures will follow House passage Wednesday by overwhelming vote of 392-26

Posted on December 1, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 1 – Following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) announcement that the Senate will begin its consideration of 21st Century Cures on Monday, Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he looks forward to getting a result for American patients on this bipartisan legislation that Leader McConnell has called “the most important legislation Congress will pass this year.”

The $6.3 billion game-changing 21st Century Cures package—which includes new research funding, mental health reforms, and state grants to fight opioid abuse—passed the House of Representatives yesterday by an overwhelming vote of 392-26.

“The House of Representatives, with its vote last night of 392-26, has sent an unmistakable message that the time is now to deliver on the promise of 21st Century Cures,” Alexander said. “I look forward to a successful vote in the Senate next week, so we can send this legislation to the White House where the president has his pen ready to sign it.”

“This legislation will help us seize on the breathtaking advances in biomedical research and bring those innovations to doctors’ offices and patients’ medicine cabinets around the country. It will advance Vice President Biden’s moonshot to find cures for cancer, President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, and Alzheimer’s research. Finally, it will help states in the fight against opioid abuse and help the one in five adults in this country suffering from a mental illness get the treatment they need. I look forward to getting a result on this game-changing legislation on behalf of American patients.”

The 21st Century Cures agreement will:

  • Help bring safe drugs and devices to market more quickly and at less cost by making needed reforms to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including: expedited review for breakthrough devices, increased patient involvement in the drug approval process, a streamlined review process for combination products that are both a drug and device, and freedom from red tape for software like fitbits or calorie counting apps.
  • Provide $4.8 billion to National Institutes of Health, including: $1.8 billion for Vice President Biden’s "Cancer Moonshot” to speed cancer research; $1.4 billion for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative to drive research into the genetic, lifestyle and environmental variations of disease; and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN Initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's and speed diagnosis and treatment.
  • Provide $500 million to the FDA.
  • Provide $1 billion in grants to states to address the opioid crisis.
  • Address the country’s mental health crisis and help the one out of five adult Americans suffering from mental illness receive the care they need.
  • Improve electronic health records for doctors and their patients.  



For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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