Obama Signs Bill to Fund Cancer Research, Drug Treatment
December 14, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a $6.3 billion bill to fund
cancer research, drug addiction recovery and mental health services,
in what likely will be his final law signed as president.
"Like many of you, I believe the United States of America should be
the country that ends cancer once and for all. We are already closer
than a lot of folks think," Obama said.
In an emotional ceremony, the president signed the 21st Century
Cures Act in a White House auditorium. He made a point of
highlighting the work of Vice President Joe Biden.
The section of the bill allocating $1.8 billion in cancer research
funding was named for Bidenís son, Beau, whose death from brain
cancer in 2015 inspired what the White House called its "Cancer
President Barack Obama and
Vice President Joe Biden watch backstage as they are introduced by
David and Kathy Grubb, for the H.R. 34 - 21st Century Cures Act bill
signing ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South
Court Auditorium, Dec. 13, 2016. The Grubbs are Co-Founders of
Jessaís Place, Charleston, W.Va. (Official White House Photo by Pete
"This bill will literally save lives," said a somber Biden. "Just
its mere signing, Mr. President, as you know better than I, gives
millions of Americans hope."
Also on stage was David Grubb, a former West Virginia state senator,
and his wife, Kate, whose daughter died of an opioid overdose in
The bill also authorized seven years of funding for other
health-related initiatives: $1.5 billion for a brain research
initiative, $1.4 billion for precision medicine and $1 billion for
substance abuse treatment targeting heroin and opioid addiction.
this is a good day. It is a bittersweet day. I think it is important
to acknowledge that it's not easy for the Grubbs to come up here and
talk about Jesse. It is not easy for Joe and Jill (Biden), I know,
to talk about Beau," Obama said.
"It's not always easy to remember, but being able to honor those we
have lost in this way, and to know that we may be able to prevent
other families from feeling that same loss, that makes it a good day
and I am confident that it will lead to better years and better
lives for millions of Americans, the work that you have done," he
Another measure of the bill streamlines the approval process for
drugs and medical implements by the Food and Drug Administration,
which some patient safety groups say is dangerous.