A bill to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 336 to 85. But there is still debate about organizational independence and whether ARPA-H should be affiliated with NIH.

The Hill: House Passes Bill to Create Healthcare Agency Focused on Biomedical Innovation

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill creating a new health care agency that will focus on accelerating biomedical innovation in an attempt to find innovative mechanisms to detect and treat a number of diseases, including cancer. The law, dubbed the Advanced Research Projects Agency and Healthcare Act, was passed by a vote of 336 to 85, with all of the “no” votes coming from Republicans. Six Republicans and two Democrats did not vote. (Schnell, 6/22)

Stats: ARPA-H Independence Debate Not As Settled As It Seems

[Rep. Anna] Eshoo’s bill would have established the new agency as an entity in its own right, clearly located outside of NIH. The move puts her at odds with Biden, Becerra and temporary White House science adviser Francis Collins. The Biden administration has already expressed its displeasure: in a statement Tuesday, the White House reaffirmed its support for the new agency’s placement at NIH. Biden officials also said they were “concerned” about a provision in Eshu’s bill that protects the director of ARPA-H’s right to testify before Congress without prior approval of his remarks from the White House. (Fakher, 6/23)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Delegation Pushes Feds to Create New Medical Research Agency in Georgia

The newly created federal health agency will eventually need its own home, and all 16 members of Georgia’s congressional delegation, representing both chambers and both parties, are uniting in hopes of making a state choice. The Health Advanced Research Projects Agency was created with $1 billion in funding from an appropriation bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in March. Biden first proposed the creation of the agency in 2021, saying it would “improve the US government’s ability to accelerate research that can improve the health of all Americans.” Two Georgia senators and 14 members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to federal health officials on Tuesday saying the state was fit for the new agency’s mission. (Mitchell, 06/22)

In the news about the free universal lunch in schools –

Detroit Free Press: Keep Kids Fed Law Gets Bipartisan Support As Universal Lunch Ends

Federal lawmakers have reached a bipartisan agreement that does not extend the free universal lunch in schools during the pandemic era, but increases the number of students who can qualify based on income. At the start of the pandemic, a universal free lunch was introduced to keep children from going hungry during the crisis. US Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-M, announced a new $3 billion deal Tuesday, along with U.S. Senators John Boozman, D-Arkansas and Bobby Scott, D-Va, and U.S. Rep. Virginia Fox, D-NY. C. Congress must pass legislation called the Federal Child Preservation Act by June 30, when the current food waivers expire. (Altavena, 6/22)

Politico: GOP Senator Considers Blocking School Meal Funding Deal Due To Fight Over Transgender Politics

The Republican senator is considering derailing a bipartisan deal to expand school meal funding due to the Biden administration’s policy of prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ students who participate in lunch programs that receive money. Democratic leaders are rushing to pass legislation and get it on the table to President Joe Biden before current funding runs out on June 30, causing a starvation cliff for millions of children. Senate Republican leaders, who had blocked previous attempts to extend funding by a year, did not threaten to reject the bill this time, according to three people involved in the talks. But any senator can object and block urgent action, which would require a recorded vote and waste precious time. (Lee, 6/22)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a health policy brief covered by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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