House Approves Medical Cures Bill in 344-77 Vote

The House voted Friday to overwhelmingly approve a multi-billion dollar medical cures bill that supporters say will speed up new treatments for patients.

The 21st Century Cures Act passed 344-77.

The legislation includes $8.75 billion worth of new research dollars for the National Institutes of Health. It also overhauls the process that the Food and Drug Administration uses to assess and approve new medicines.

While the measure passed out of committee in May on a rare 51-0 vote, it encountered some last-minute resistance this week from both parties.

Many conservatives objected that the NIH spending is mandatory, which does not force Congress to revisit it each year through the normal appropriations process. A total of 141 Republicans supported an amendment by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) that would have made the funding discretionary, though the measure ultimately failed. One hundred Republicans opposed the amendment.