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. 

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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 WarrenSanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments Midterms will show voters are tired of taking back seat to Wall Street McConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOn paper, Wilkie is the perfect candidate for VA secretary, but his qualifications go further Sacha Baron Cohen mulls arming toddlers with guns in inaugural episode Ocasio-Cortez to campaign with Bernie Sanders in Kansas 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.