Today, by a vote of 344-77, the House passed H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill championed by the cancer community and the biomedical research community at large. Yet, this victory was not achieved without challenges. This week, the House Rules Committee approved an amendment offered by freshman Representative Dave Brat (R-VA) to make the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Innovation Fund and Cures Innovation Fund in the bill discretionary funds, rather than mandatory. The amendment threatened to derail the bill and the advocacy community fought back. The Brat amendment failed by a vote of 141-281.
The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), which passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously in May, garnered 230 cosponsors and gained the support of 76 AACI cancer centers. H.R. 6 creates innovation funds for the NIH and FDA that would not be available through regular budgetary procedures over the next several years. The bill prescribes mandatory funding in the amount of $8.75 billion for the NIH and $550 million for the FDA over the next five years.
The final roll call vote can be found at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll433.xml. Please thank your legislators for supporting the bill.