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.
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.
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:
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.
— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) September 15, 2021
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.