The 21st Century Cures Act—complete with mental health reform language, changes to Food and Drug Administration regulations and funding for cancer research—cleared its final congressional hurdle Wednesday with passage in the Senate.
With a vote of 94-5, the bill now heads to President Barack Obama, who has said he will sign it immediately.
On Monday, the Senate took a cloture vote to end debate on the legislation, which the House easily passed last week. That was seen as all but assuring a presidential signature, and Vice President Joe Biden took the rare step of presiding over the Senate vote.
The sweeping legislation has been in the works for years, and industry groups have for the most part strongly supported it. Mental health advocates praised the inclusion of efforts to improve care for people with mental illness and provide more alternative options to incarceration.
A few senators, including Democrat Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, came out against the bill because of concessions to the pharmaceutical industry, which included loosened FDA regulations that patient safety groups also opposed.