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WASHINGTON — The House passed a long-stalled public health bill Thursday, sending it to the Senate in a last-ditch attempt to get the law passed before the end of the year.

The bill is actually a combination of two different pieces of legislation: one that helps the government respond to public health emergencies, and another that changes the way the Food and Drug Administration regulates over-the-counter drugs.


Months ago, the House passed two separate bills that accomplished each of those goals, but both stalled in the Senate. In that chamber, Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) blocked the consideration of each for reasons that don’t have to do directly with the purpose of either bill.

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