Engel Statement On 21st Century Cures Act

Engel Statement On 21st Century Cures Act

Washington D.C.—Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on this evening’s vote on the 21st Century Cures Act:

“Tonight’s vote on the 21st Century Cures Act was a difficult one. This bill contains many provisions worth commending, as well as several that I wish had been omitted. Ultimately, I felt that the merits of this bill outweighed its flaws, and cast my vote for it.

“Throughout my time in Congress, I have been a passionate advocate for those suffering from rare diseases.  As an author of the ALS Registry Act and the two most recent Muscular Dystrophy CARE Act reauthorizations, I know the 21st Century Cures initiative holds great promise for the patients and families afflicted with rare diseases. The bill makes a much-needed investment in medical research and promotes biomedical advances by streamlining the process by which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates drugs and medical devices.

“21st Century Cures also marks an important step in addressing flaws in our mental health system and our nation’s opioid epidemic. Earlier this year, when the House considered the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, I said that ‘we must equip our communities with the resources needed to reverse these trends.’ By providing $1 billion for this purpose, 21st Century Cures will help states serve Americans grappling with opioid abuse – a crisis that has touched every corner of our nation.

“I am also pleased that this bill contains numerous provisions that I authored, including key elements of my Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act and the Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act, a bill I co-lead with Congressman James B. Renacci.

“I am extremely displeased that this bill will cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund. However, the Majority has made it their mission to undo this funding for several years. While I regret that this is the case, this bill allows us to reallocate that funding to vital causes, rather than watch it disappear completely.

“This bill is not perfect, but it does a great deal to help Americans living with rare diseases, improve care for those who have been touched by mental illness, and aid states in their efforts to combat opioid abuse. These causes are too critical, in my view, to oppose.”