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FEDERAL | Congress Sets Enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act as a Post-Election Priority

In a series of separate announcements last week, House and Senate leadership declared that the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act is a priority for both chambers when lawmakers return in November. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) highlighted funding the government and the 21st Century Cures Act as his own personal priorities, noting that the latter, "Could end up being the most significant piece of legislation we pass in the whole Congress."

In his weekly press briefing, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that his focus would be on sending 21st Century Cures and mental health reform legislation to the President's desk. Leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee also released a statement reiterating their commitment to signing the medical innovation bill into law this year. The bipartisan statement was signed by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX).

A revised version of the legislation is expected to be released immediately following the election recess. The costs associated with the new version of the bill could be, in part, offset by a proposal that would allow for pharmaceutical manufacturers to obtain samples needed to create generic versions of brand-name drug treatments. The offset would be a rewrite of the CREATES Act, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), which could produce $2.9 billion in savings over the next decade.