• Will a Medical Innovation Bill Make It To President Obama’s Desk?
  • April 18, 2016
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held its third and final votes on a series of small bipartisan bills around medical innovation this week. Unfortunately, for supporters of the effort, there is still no deal around the most important issues ¿ funding for the National Institutes of Health and funding for the Food and Drug Administration. Worse, time is running out for the Senate to act.

    Essentially, the Senate will need to strike a deal over funding in the next two weeks— something that won’t be easy.

    Not only must the Senate come to a deal on funding, they must also find offsets for the additional funding. Unfortunately, the Senate cannot use many of the offsets used by the House-passed 21st Century Cures bill because the lion’s share of those offsets were used in the transportation bill enacted at the end of 2015.

    The five bills that passed in committee this week, all passed by voice vote. They include a measure to help the FDA and NIH attract new talent, a bill that requires the FDA to establish a program to approve certain antibiotics, and a bill that would promote the inclusion of minorities in clinical research.  

    This brings the total of bills advanced by the committee to 19— almost all of which are bipartisan.

    Alexander decided to move the medical innovation effort forward piece by piece earlier this year after failing to come to an agreement with Democrats on a broader legislative package. Instead of voting on just one big bill, the committee held three executive sessions to pass groups of smaller bills.