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The time to act is now: Bipartisan action will accelerate cures for Americans

The Hill

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

With the election over, speculation is rampant on what this means for politics and policy in 2017. We need to take a step back however, and realize there is critical work to be completed by Congress in 2016, to set the stage for a new generation of medical innovation, and demonstrate to the American people that Washington is not broken.

Congress has four remaining work weeks in Washington to hash out the budget and hopefully finish work on the “21st Century Cures” legislation which will accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of safe and effective medical therapies. As medical doctors we have witnessed the potential of life-changing treatments, and as a former Senate Majority Leader and former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner who have spent years in public service — we recognize this rare and exciting opportunity for Congress to pass legislation that will affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans suffering from diseases today with no cure.

The Cures legislation is the product of two years of negotiation, resulting in nearly unanimous support among members of the House of Representatives and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee at a time when many believed Washington was incapable of compromise. Indeed, in late September, Senate and House leadership, and bipartisan leaders in the Senate HELP Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee committed to getting a bill passed this fall.

KEYWORDS: FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, BILL FRIST, 114TH CONGRESS, SENATE HELP COMMITTEE, 21ST CENTURY CURES