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Executive Summary

The 21st Century Cures bill made it through the US Congress in 2016 after all; advocates can thank the unexpected presidential victory of Donald Trump for helping to make that happen.


Like many prominent Republicans, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton was not excited when the party selected Donald Trump as its presidential candidate. In fact, he very publicly declined to endorse Trump ahead of the GOP convention and just as publicly called on him to drop out of the race in October after the Access Hollywood video was released.

But, now that Upton’s 21st Century Cures bill is on its way to President Obama for signature, the Michigan Republican should probably send Trump a thank-you note.

Upton launched the Cures effort in 2014 and shepherded it through the House in 2015, eager to complete work before his tenure as E&C Committee chair ends with the adjournment of the current Congress.

Heading into election day, the chances that Upton would be able to celebrate the accomplishment were looking bleak. The Senate had repeatedly missed deadlines to bring a companion bill to the floor for a vote, with the final hope a promise to take up the bill in the post-election “lame duck” session.



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