Democrats in Disarray over Drug Pricing Reform in Infrastructure Bill

In this June 24, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden, flanked by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and a bipartisan group of senators walks to speak to the media outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Democrats’ efforts to reform drug pricing in the $3.5 trillion infrastructure have increasingly fractured the party.

Punchbowl News reported Friday that House moderate Democrats have been strategizing with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) as the lawmakers oppose various measures of the mammoth bill.

Sinema reportedly has discussed House Energy and Commerce Democrats’ efforts to oppose drug pricing reform, which failed in the committee this week.

Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) voted with Republicans to oppose a plan that would allow the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients. Democrats hope to use the savings from this reform to expand vision, dental, and hearing programs in Medicare. This is a significant priority for the leftist Democrats.

In this Feb. 13, 2020, file photo, The Official U.S. Government Medicare Handbook for 2020 over pages of a Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General report, are shown in Washington. The Trump administration says most people with Medicare will have access to prescription plans next year that limit copays for insulin to a maximum of $35 a month. Tuesday's announcement comes as President Donald Trump returns to the issue of drug prices to woo older people whose votes will be critical to his reelection prospects. (AP Photos/Wayne Partlow, File)

In this February 13, 2020, file photo, the Official U.S. Government Medicare Handbook for 2020 lays over pages of a Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General report, are shown in Washington. (AP Photos/Wayne Partlow, File)

Punchbowl News said that many doubt whether the reform could pass through the House, and roughly six Senate Democrats remain concerned about the proposal.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), the only Democrat to vote against the reconciliation package in the House Ways and Means Committee, emphasized that House and Senate Democrats need to craft a package that both chambers of Congress could pass. She said:

House and Senate Democrats must work together, in a careful and thoughtful way, to get this bill to a place where it can pass both chambers and be signed into law by President Biden. Every moment we spend debating provisions that will never become law is a moment wasted and will delay much-needed assistance to the American people.

President Joe Biden’s efforts to shepherd the enormous infrastructure bill through the Senate stalled as Manchin said he would not support the $3.5 trillion proposal. Manchin wants to reduce the bill’s price tag to roughly $1.5 trillion.

U.S. President Joe Biden walks away from the podium after delivering remarks on the coronavirus response, the vaccination program, and Medicare and Medicaid funding in the East Room of the White House on August 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden walks away from the podium, without answering questions, after delivering remarks on the coronavirus response and vaccination program, as well as Medicare and Medicaid funding in the East Room of the White House on August 18, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Heritage Action cheered the downfall of the drug pricing reform as a “big win for the American people.”

#HR3 would drive up the cost of medicine, eliminate drug options, and take away control from patients and doctors. This bipartisan rejection from @EnergyCommerce sends a clear message to @SpeakerPelosi: Don’t tax our healthcare,” Heritage Action wrote this week:

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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