Closely following its passage (392-26 on Nov. 30) in the House of Representatives, the US Senate took up the 21st Century Cures Act and enacted the law by an equally impressive margin (94-5) vote. The law’s next stop is President Obama’s desk, and the President has already made clear his support for the bill and his intent to sign it. Passage will mean nearly $5 billion of new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $500 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with a plethora of policy provisions that will bolster medical research.

As long time advocates for increased funding for medical research, the National Fragile X Foundation (NFXF) applauds the (soon anticipated) signing of 21st Century Cures into law. We are equally excited, and cautiously optimistic, that the overwhelming bipartisanship demonstrated in the last week could signal that, at least when it comes to supporting medical research and innovation toward cures and treatment for conditions like Fragile X, a new day is dawning.

The bill’s passage represents the culmination of more than two years’ work by Representatives Fred Upton, Diana DeGette and Frank Pallone, who together with Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, also championed the effort and moved the bills through their respective committees. They were joined by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, in partnership with their Senate colleagues Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid. The result was the near unanimous votes seen over the last week.

The 21st Century Cures legislation addresses the entire biomedical innovation system. New funding for the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative, the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of disease and identify opportunities for new therapies for Fragile X and a whole host of diverse conditions.

For our part, NFXF Advocates will be in Washington, DC on March 1st, 2017 for our 14th annual NFXF Advocacy Day, and we look forward to celebrating the bipartisan support this critically-important bill received with friends of Fragile X in both chambers, new members, their staffs and our new President and his administration.

Through our national corps of advocates, we will continue to work with all stakeholders toward full implementation of 21st Century Cures. Watch for additional information on NFXF Advocacy Day 2017 to learn how you can get involved!

Author
Jeffrey CohenJeffrey Cohen is the NFXF’s director of public policy and government affairs. He has previously served as a member of the NFXF Board of Directors as well as the interim executive director of the NFXF. Jeffrey has two children living with FXS who are successfully transitioning into independent and productive adults. Jeffrey holds degrees in business administration and law.