WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson applauded the passage of H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act in the House of Representatives. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, with a final vote count of 392 – 26.
“I am glad to see that the 21st Century Cares Act passed with strong bipartisan support,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “While this final bill did not have all the necessary funding that I would have liked to see for research, it did incorporate many of the provisions of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. I think this legislation is a strong step in the right direction towards addressing mental healthcare and fighting the opioid addiction that has permeated our country.”
The bill contains $6.3 billion in spending over the next ten years. With $4.8 billion in funding over the next ten years delivered to Innovation Funds within the National Institutes of Health and $500 million for the Food and Drug Administration over the next ten years, and $1 billion to address the opioid epidemic. It is clear that Congress is committed to investing in health research that will bring effective treatments and cures to our patients faster.
The legislation also includes elements of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, of which I am the lead democratic cosponsor. I am proud that this legislation will include many of the provisions that Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and I worked on for several years. The bill will establish an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in order to increase interagency coordination. It will reauthorize grant programs that work in our community like Assisted Outpatient Treatment for patients and Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement. The bill also directs the Secretary of Health of Human Services to clarify existing HIPAA rules regarding compassionate communication for patients and their families. These are just a few provisions of the many that will positively affect patients who have mental illness, substance use disorders, eating disorders, or suicide risks.