Congress OKs biomedical bill, eyes adjournment
WASHINGTON - Congress has sent President Barack Obama a bipartisan bill speeding government drug approvals and bolstering research on cancer and other diseases.
It's part of a final burst of legislation for the 114th Congress, which leaders hope to adjourn for the year by week's end.
Lawmakers are also working on bills financing federal agencies into April, mapping Pentagon programs and charting water projects.
The Senate gave final congressional approval to the biomedical measure Wednesday by 94-5.
Supporters say the bill will get new cures and treatments to market faster while augmenting research at the National Institutes of Health.
Critics call the measure a gift to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. They also say the $6.3 billion planned by the legislation isn't guaranteed and should be increased.