The House easily approved a major medical cures bill Friday, momentarily setting aside bitter differences over Obamacare to try to improve how cutting-edge treatments are discovered and approved.

The bill passed 344-77, with 70 Republicans and a handful of Democrats opposing it. The legislation provides more funding to both the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, along with dozens of reforms intended to speed up the development and approval of cures.

Lawmakers rebuffed an effort by conservatives to reclassify most of the bill's new spending as discretionary rather than mandatory, which could have killed it on the floor. Some on the right, including former Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, called the bill a "gimmick" because dubbing new spending as mandatory saves Congress from having to appropriate it every year and frees it from spending caps.

The House rejected 281-141 the amendment, offered by Virginia Republican David Brat.

Democrats failed to strip out Hyde Amendment language, which restricts federal spending on abortions. While the language has little practical effect on the cures bill — as the issue is outside NIH and FDA's purview — Republicans had added the language at the last minute.

Despite the late disagreements, lawmakers broadly applauded the strongly bipartisan effort and expressed hope that it will eventually reach President Obama's desk. The Senate will be next to act, although it's expected to pass its own version of a cures bill.

"Today, we took a big leap on the path to cures, but we still have much work left to do," said a joint statement issued by leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which led the effort. "The 344 votes today should be a springboard for action. On to the Senate."

It can take up to 15 years for a drug to move from the laboratory to the pharmacy shelf. And the vast majority of rare diseases have no known cures. The bill tries to address both those problems by speeding up the approval process and incentivizing drug developers to prioritize cures for lesser-known diseases.

It allows developers to rely more on biomarkers and other new drug development tools and provides a six-month extension of certain exclusivity periods and patent protection for an already-approved drug if it's approved to treat a rare disease or condition.

The bill is paid for by selling off oil reserves and enacting some Medicare and Medicaid reforms.