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Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Senate yesterday passed its bill to fund the Department of Health and Human Services — the first time since 2007 that this bill has passed on its own in the Senate, rather than as part of a larger spending package. The vote was 85-7.

The big picture: The bill includes important funding measures like a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and $3.7 billion in opioid spending.

The last-minute drama: Sen. Rand Paul's amendment to defund Planned Parenthood got a vote and failed, 45–48. Every Democrat voted against it.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin's amendment affirming the ACA's pre-existing conditions protections didn't get a vote, which he wasn't happy about. A vote could have pitted Senate Republicans against the Trump administration.

The details: A few notable amendments made it into the final bill.

  • Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin's amendment giving $1 million to HHS to implement the aforementioned rules requiring drug companies to include list prices in direct-to-consumer advertising. 
  • Sens. Bob Casey and Todd Young's bill giving $10 million to carry out the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, a response to the most recent Catholic church scandal.
  • Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio's $10 million demonstration program expanding school-based mental health services in low-income schools, a response to the Parkland school shooting.
  • Other vulnerable senators — including Sens. Claire McCaskill, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp — also got noncontroversial riders into the package. 

What we're watching: How this gets reconciled with the much more partisan House bill. 

— Correction: This article has been updated with the correct funding levels for the NIH and opioids.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

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