Vote Explanation for Concurring in the Senate Amendment with an Amendment to H.R. 34 — The 21st Century Cures Act

Last week, I voted for the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill provides $4.8 billion over ten years to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Innovation Fund, which includes the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot, precision medicine, and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiatives. Not only will the programs funded through this legislation save countless lives, investments in groundbreaking medical research also create jobs and strengthen our economy, particularly in Massachusetts. In fact, the medical field has seen some of the highest job growth since the Recession. Funding from the 21st Century Cures Act will ensure that this growth continues.

In addition, this legislation will provide much-needed funding to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. Massachusetts, including the Sixth District, has been at the center of this crisis and I have met with families, police departments, and service providers who have told me time and again that they do not have enough money to support all those who have been affected. The 21st Century Cures Act will allocate $1 billion in funding to combat opioid addiction over the next two years. This money will benefit vital prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

Finally, this bill also contains an important provision related to mental health. Like addiction, the study of mental health care has been chronically underfunded and progress in research has stalled. The 21st Century Cures Act would require the Medicaid program to cover stays in psychiatric hospitals, increase funding for community-based treatment and crisis response systems, and create a National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory to improve the effective delivery of mental health services. For too long, our country has let down the millions of Americans living with mental illness and this legislation is an important step forward in this critical field.

I am proud to have joined the majority of my House colleagues in voting for this important bill and I hope to see it soon pass the Senate and be signed into law by the President.