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Biden celebrated the bipartisan effort to pass the “Accelerating Access to Critical Therapies for ALS Act” during a bill signing event Thursday, saying the legislation was made possible “because of the movement led by the patients and caregivers and members of Congress of both parties.”
The newly signed legislation will establish grant programs to address neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, which is more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Biden noted that it had been “82 years” since Lou Gehrig famously retired from baseball after being diagnosed with the disease, yet “outcomes are still the same” and there is “no cure.”
“But today, we’re finally closer than ever to new treatments and hopefully, God willing, a cure,” Biden said.
The president singled out lawmakers from both parties during the ceremony, noting that the bill passed the House by a vote of 423-3 and unanimously passed the Senate.
“And you wonder why I’m saying whether Democrats or Republicans, to make the point when we act together we get things done,” Biden said. “This is totally… a bipartisan effort.”
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, eventually leading to a loss of muscle control. Patients diagnosed with the disease typically only live 2-5 more years, and there is no cure.
The bipartisan legislation signed by the president allows for $100 million in funding per year for five years to help combat ALS, with funding beginning next year.
“It’s about showing the American people that as a country, we can come together… Democrats, Republicans, independents, and do big things,” Biden said. “There’s nothing beyond our capacity when we do it together as the United States of America. I believe this bill as an example of that truth.”