House Seeks Momentum on Medical Cures

The House is looking to use an overwhelming bipartisan vote to raise pressure on the Senate over a medical cures bill on which the upper chamber has been lagging.

The House is moving forward on its 21st Century Cures measure, aimed at speeding up the FDA’s approval of new drugs and increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has repeatedly said he wants to get a bill signed into law before the end of the year.

But the Senate is still in the early stages of its effort on a similar bill, and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), leading the effort, has said the timeline could slip into the start of next year, when the election could make bipartisan action more difficult.

“I would like to think that at some point late summer, early fall, whether it be July or September, they’ll actually get a bill that we can then marry in conference and get to the altar,” Upton told reporters Thursday, placing an emphasis on the “I.”