Sen. Warren blasts drug approval bill as 'extortion'

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says a bill providing extra money for medical research is "extortion" and a giveaway to big biomedical companies.

The liberal Democrat also said the bill benefits a Republican donor who backs contentious therapies that are supposed to regenerate cells. She did not name the donor, but said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has accepted contributions from him.

A McConnell spokesman declined to comment on Warren's remarks.

Warren spoke on the Senate floor Monday as Congress began the final stretch of its postelection session.

Warren criticized part of the huge bill that would make it easier for the government to approve existing drugs for new uses. She condemned another section that would exempt medical companies from publicly reporting some payments they make to doctors.