Biden’s farewell gift: Cancer moonshot helps pass $6.3 billion research bill
Old-fashioned bill gives Republicans a big funding boost for medical research. By SARAH KARLIN-SMITH, BRETT NORMAN and JENNIFER HABERKORN
Two months after the Obama administration promised a “moonshot” to accelerate the fight against cancer, Vice President Joe Biden summoned top health care lawmakers to a meeting in the Old Executive Office building.
Biden, whose son, Beau, died from brain cancer less than a year earlier, saw a path to fund the initiative in Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton’s 21st Century Cures bill — a measure designed to boost funding for research on cancer and other diseases while making sweeping regulatory changes at the FDA that easily passed the House but was struggling to gain momentum in the upper chamber.
The two-hour March meeting with Biden, Upton and the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate’s health care committees was the beginning of a rare Washington partnership that would ultimately save the health care legacies of Biden and Upton, as well as key Obama administration research programs — a bittersweet victory for a White House that will likely see much of its health care agenda unraveled by Republicans next year.
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