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May 19, 2022

House Energy & Commerce Committee advances bipartisan user fee, mental health and research bills to the full House

On May 18, the House Energy & Commerce Committee advanced six bipartisan health care bills to the full House. Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) expressed their support for the bills and their commitment to passing legislation to reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) user fee agreements, the Food and Drug Amendments of 2022 (H.R. 7667), before the current user fee agreements expire on September 30.

During the markup, there was a lot of debate over two amendments to the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022: the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act and the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act. For example, some Republican members, including Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) voiced opposition to the MATE amendment, saying it inappropriately targets doctors while failing to address the fentanyl entering the country via the Southern border. Meanwhile, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) questioned the need for a separate amendment that would establish a new grant program related to mental health parity when states are reporting budget surpluses.

Ranking Member Rodgers said an amendment to the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health Act, or the ARPA-H Act, (H.R. 5585) will "provide guardrails for the agency to be a success" and "put ARPA-H on the right path with a targeted mission, increased accountability and transparency, and a laser focus on promoting American innovators." Lawmakers also voted to advance the Keeping Incarceration Discharges Streamlined for Children and Accommodating Resources in Education Act, also known as the KIDS CARES Act, (H.R. 7233), the South Asian Heart Health Awareness Act of 2021 (H.R. 3771), and the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 (H.R. 623).

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Healthcare bills advance to the full House