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Thornberry votes for sweeping health reform and research bill

Washington, December 1, 2016 | Jon Corley (202-225-3706)

U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted in support of the “21stCentury Cures Act,” H.R. 34, which will speed up the approval of life-saving medical drugs, increase funding for disease and cancer research, for the advancement of medical devices and drugs, for opioid prevention and treatment programs, and for mental health research and treatment. The bill passed the House Wednesday evening by a bipartisan vote of 392-26.

“This bill is going to do a great deal to help millions of Americans and their families who are living with the devastating effects of cancer, diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, drug addiction, and mental health issues,” said Thornberry. “This is a patient-focused, fiscally responsible bill that will help advance our medical research, increase the availability of effective medical treatment, and accelerate the development of life-saving medical technologies and drugs.”

The legislation will dedicate $5.3 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). It will also reduce the deficit by $5.81 billion through 2026. Among other provisions the funding will be used to:

  • Advance the Precision Medicine Initiative to drive research into the genetic, lifestyle and environmental variations of disease;
  • Bolster the "Cancer Moonshot” to speed up cancer research;
  • Invest in the BRAIN initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's;
  • Spur the development of health software and mobile medical apps, vaccines, and regenerative medicine therapies;
  • Modernize clinical trials to expedite the review of critical drugs; and
  • Help the FDA recruit and retain the best and brightest scientists, doctors, and engineers.

“This bill also represents the most significant reform to our mental health system in more than a decade, and it provides $1 billion in grants to the states to fight the opioid epidemic. These are two areas that we have a great deal of work to do as a nation,” Thornberry said.

The legislation is supported by Association of American Cancer Institutes, American Association for Cancer Research, American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Heart Association, American Psychiatric Association, Epilepsy Foundation, Infectious Diseases Society of America, National Organization for Rare Disorders, and many other organizations.

You can access a fact sheet with more information about the Cures Act here.

You can download video interview footage for news purposes by clicking here.