Skip to content

Senate, House Leaders: Cures to be Top Priority in Lame Duck

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2016—The Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, and Senate and House health committee leaders all said this week that it is a priority to pass medical innovation legislation into law this year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters today that “We’ve got about three weeks back here after the election. My own personal priorities are funding the government and the 21st Century Cures bill, which I think could end up being the most significant piece of legislation we pass in the whole Congress. The president is interested in it – Precision Medicine. The vice president is interested in it – Cancer Moonshot. I’m interested in it – regenerative medicine. There are a lot of us who are deeply invested in that and I think that will be a top priority in the senate in the lame duck, as well as funding the government.”

Later he said: “We don’t know who’s going to win in November. But no matter who does win in November, we still have the same government in place until the end of the year and we need to accomplish as much as we can for the American people in the limited amount of time that we have left. And I’ve mentioned something that I think is extremely important to the country – the 21st Century Cures bill -- that I believe both the Speaker and myself and this president and this vice president – not the next ones—really want to accomplish this year.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said today that Cures legislation would be among “very important key initiatives” that he looked forward to completing in November.

The leaders of the Senate health committee, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), on Wednesday released the following statement on their work on a Senate version of the 21st Century Cures legislation: “We continue our work on bipartisan legislation to spur cures and treatments and better health for Americans. We’ve been working for a year and a half on behalf of patients and scientists, and we are committed to getting a result this year that will lead to lifesaving medical breakthroughs and advance President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative and Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.”

Leading House advocates for the legislation this week also said they are committed to getting the bill passed this fall:

“The path to Cures has been a multi-year journey that has always been about putting patients first. Hand-in-hand with that goal is to advance Cures this year, legislation that will bring hope to families all across the country,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), original co-sponsors of the bill, together with Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX). “We have been working hard for months, and we will continue to work toward an agreement that can pass both chambers and be signed by the president. And the good news is that we are on the cusp of something special. We are focused on delivering #CuresNow. At hand is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we’re committed to getting 21st Century Cures signed into law this fall.”