The measure is one of the biggest pieces of legislation left on the table as lawmakers left town on Thursday to campaign for re-election.
The fact that both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) put it on the agenda for the session suggests it has a strong chance of advancing in the weeks after the election.
The legislation, which would send billions of dollars to the National Institutes of Health, could be a boon for medical research and drug and device companies, depending on how it is structured.
It would also ease Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of many drugs and devices, though the House and Senate measures take different approaches. The House passed its bill in July 2015 and the Senate legislation was approved in committee this year.
Because Congress also must pass legislation to keep the government running when current funding expires, there is little time for other significant votes.
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