White House 'strongly' backs Cures bill despite some Dem concerns

White House 'strongly' backs Cures bill despite some Dem concerns
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The White House on Tuesday said it “strongly supports” a medical cures bill, giving a final boost to legislation that had drawn concerns from some congressional Democrats. 

The bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, seeks to speed up the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for new drugs. It also invests new money in medical research, $4.8 billion over 10 years, at the National Institutes of Health. 

It was this new money that drew the strongest praise from the White House, which noted that it includes money to fund Vice President Biden’s cancer “moonshot” initiative. There is also $1 billion over two years to fight the opioid epidemic, which the White House also cheered. 

The move puts the administration at odds with Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.), who both oppose the measure, saying it is a giveaway to pharmaceutical companies and calling the research funding inadequate. 

Some other Senate Democrats have voiced concerns, but the measure is still expected to gain support from many in the conference. The White House’s support could further help in that regard. 

Some consumer groups have warned that the bill would lower FDA safety standards, but the White House had only praise for the FDA reforms, saying they would help modernize processes there.

The cancer moonshot, which is getting $1.8 billion of the NIH money to accelerate research on cancer, is one of the most high-profile efforts being funded. 

“As the Vice President and scientific experts have said, we are at an inflection point in cancer research and this investment could help seize this opportunity,” the White House said.