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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden before signing the 21st Century Cures Act, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama signed a $6.3 billion bill for cancer research and drug treatment


President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act Tuesday, which is a $6.3 billion bill to fund research for diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes. 

The bill includes $1.8 billion for Vice President Biden's "cancer moonshot" initiative to "end cancer as we know it." Biden's son Beau died from brain cancer in 2015, so today's passage was personal for the vice president. 

Obama signed the bill into law during an emotional ceremony in which the president spoke about his mother dying of cancer in her early 50s.

"It's not always easy to remember, but being able to honor those we've lost in this way and to know that we may be able to prevent other families from feeling that same loss, that makes it a good day," he said.

The White House tweeted, saying these letters are the reason Obama signed the bill.

Tuesday's bill also authorized seven years of funding for other health initiatives including $1.5 billion for a brain research initiative and $1 billion of substance abuse treatment, aimed at curbing the number of cases of heroin and opioid addiction.

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