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Senate HELP advances primary care bill

Sens. Roger Marshall (left) and Bernie Sanders. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate HELP Committee on Thursday advanced a bill to boost funding for community health centers and expand primary care in a 14-7 bipartisan vote.

Driving the news: Three Republicans joined with all Democrats to support the measure: Sens. Roger Marshall, Lisa Murkowski and Mike Braun.

Between the lines: The measure is the result of an unusual collaboration between Sanders and Marshall.

  • Because Ranking Member Bill Cassidy opposed to the package, the number of GOP yes votes was closely watched.

What we're watching: The three GOP yes votes gives the bill bipartisan support, but also highlights that a majority of Republicans and the ranking member remain opposed, complicating the path to the floor.

  • Sanders said he had agreed to remove some mandatory funding in the bill to win Braun's support.
  • Some other amendments were adopted on Thursday to make changes, including a Braun amendment to require HHS to publish a list of hospitals that don't comply with transparency rules.
  • We'll have a fuller breakdown of the day's events in our newsletter this afternoon.
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