Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statement after the passage of H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act:
“As a breast cancer survivor and a legislator, the 21st Century Cures Act is deeply personal to me, because too many of my constituents and I have learned firsthand just how badly we need to find cures for deadly diseases like cancer. I am proud that this bill provides $1.8 billion in funding for Vice President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot,” which is yet another shining example of the Obama Administration’s determination to improve the health care of all Americans. This critical legislation will fuel the development of cancer vaccines and more sensitive diagnostic tests for cancer, immunotherapy and the development of combination therapies. Cancer affects people of every background and faith and this funding will go to urgently needed research, which is the only way for us to once and for all beat cancer. I am deeply grateful to Vice President Biden for his tireless advocacy on this issue.
“I also supported the 21st Century Cures Act because of its $2 billion commitment to tackling our nation’s opioid epidemic. This epidemic is reaching dangerous levels across America, including in South Florida. Recent news reports found that the 12-month death total from heroin or opiate-related drug overdoses will exceed 800 people in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties, which should be alarming to every public official and citizen in our area. This bill provides critically-needed funding to combat the crisis in our community and hopefully save South Florida lives.
“This legislation, like most bills that pass Congress in this era of divided government, is not perfect. I share the concerns of my colleagues and advocates that the funds provided in this bill could be supplanted, in the years to come. As an Appropriator, I will hold my Republican colleagues and the incoming Administration accountable for protecting these funds. Additionally, this bill does not adequately address the rising cost of prescription drugs, which is alarming and needs a solution. However, I firmly believe this bill’s positives – billions of dollars in dedicated funding to speed up life-saving research and make greater progress in combatting disease – outweigh these concerns and do a substantial amount of good for those who need it the most.”