Nancy Pelosi can’t seem to make the House love her. She’s fallen flat constantly with her ability to bring peace since there’s quite a divide – and it’s not between the Democrats and the Republicans. The divide is between the Dems, especially with the progressives making more and more demands of the Speaker of the House.
First, she gets pushed into an impeachment inquiry to appease everyone. Now, she’s facing resistance on her drug plan from the left. Pelosi’s signature drug pricing bill created quite a heated debate among several Dems. Many complained that the legislation didn’t go far enough to make the progressives happy.
Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) is one of the Representatives to complain that key priorities were watered down. She cautioned Pelosi in a private caucus meeting that the current draft may fall short of how the party promised to authorize Medicare to be able to negotiate prescription drug pricing.
The meeting lasted an hour, with most people in attendance describing it as “tense.” The drug pricing bill may not pass swiftly through the House as they had hoped. If there are too many arguments about it before it even hits the House floor, it’s only going to show that the caucus is severely divided between the left and the moderate.
While most of the caucus is backing the bill, it’s not getting the job done for the progressives. The bill could, potentially, hit the bill by the end of next week.
DeLauro is an ally of Pelosi, so she’s looking out for the Speaker when talking about issues with the current verbiage of the bill. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) is another ally. Together, they spoke with Pelosi about some of the key priorities that could get too much push back from the left, particularly with the number of drugs that Medicare will be able to negotiate on – and this has been one of the top sticking points in past discussions.
The bill, identified as H.R. 3, has been a top priority since the House Democrats reclaimed the majority at the beginning of the year. They’ve been writing and rewriting the bill for a while, and it recently passed within a House committee to start moving forward before the Senate introduces their own drug pricing bill.
DeLauro made a comment about standing behind the efforts to help with the skyrocketing drug costs since tens of millions of people are suffering. She also threw in how the Dems are taking action since the Trump administration is taking a big game “but does nothing.”
One of the main concerns is a technical component of the bill – whether the legislation eliminates the current ban. The longstanding ban right now does not allow Medicare to directly negotiate pricing with the drug companies. If this is lifted, it could make it easier to lower pricing. With Pelosi’s bill, it only creates a narrow exception – and the left will not find this to be acceptable enough to vote on it.
If the bill were to be passed, the federal government would be responsible for negotiating on at least 35 medications that come at a high cost. This would be a significant accomplishment for liberals as it has been a policy goal of theirs for quite some time. Progressives don’t like this idea, however, as it means that most drugs would never get negotiated, meaning that the Dems wouldn’t get the “amazing” legislation that they think they will.
No one has seen the final version of the bill, which will go through another markup on Tuesday before it makes it to the House floor. The house is still eager to push it forward because it allows him to take a stance on prescription drugs. The left will find a reason to complain no matter what is put on the proposal unless they are the ones to write it.
If the progressives try to convince Pelosi to change the bill too dramatically, it may get the vote in the House, but it will be dead on arrival by the time it makes it to the Senate floor. This means that Pelosi is going to have to develop a backbone over the next week and push back as much as necessary. Even then, it’s questionable as whether it will get the approval in the Senate, primarily because Republicans are afraid that controlling the pricing will take away from innovation on future drugs while also providing Medicare with “sweeping authority” to set prescription medication pricing in private and public markets while importing price controls from other parts of the wor