House progressives are considering voting against a procedural motion to proceed to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi ‘Don’t mess with Mama’: Pelosi’s daughter tweets support following press conference commentsBloomberg: Trump should be impeached On The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider tradingMOREs (D-Calif.) signature bill to lower drug prices next week unless they get changes to the measure, effectively threatening to stop the bill in its tracks.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Friday is conducting a whip count of its 98 members to see how many would be willing to vote no on what is known as the rule for the legislation.
The move, while not certain yet, is a sign of the intense frustration among some progressive House lawmakers that they have not been able to win changes to the bill they have sought for months, in what they say has been a closed-off, top-down process.
Voting no on the rule, a procedural measure which sets the terms of debate for the bill itself, would stop the bill from coming up for a vote. Progressives hope that could force leadership to either allow floor votes on progressive amendments or make changes to the underlying bill before the vote.
There are a lot of people who are saying if we don’t get some of these things in, we have to consider all our options, including voting against the rule, Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalHouse moves ahead on long-stalled resolution supporting two states for Israelis and PalestiniansOvernight Health Care Presented by Johnson & Johnson Virginia moves to suspend Medicaid work rules | Powerful House panel sets ‘Medicare for All’ hearing | Hospitals sue over Trump price rule | FDA official grilled on vaping policyJayapal pushes back on Gaetz’s questioning of impeachment witness donations to DemocratsMORE (D-Wash.), the co-chair of the CPC, told reporters on Friday.
The bill, a top priority for House Democrats, would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for a minimum of 35 drugs per year up to a maximum of 250 drugs per year.
The measure would save at least $345 billion over seven years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a substantial sum. Some moderate House Democrats think the bill is already sweeping enough and the drug industry is strongly opposing it. Republicans have gone even farther, calling it socialist.
But progressives, from the other side, say more changes are needed to make the bill stronger.
They are pushing for increasing the number of drugs that can be negotiated as well as extending lower drug prices to people who are uninsured, and fully repealing the current ban on Medicare negotiating prices.
Jayapal and the other progressive co-chair, Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find ‘balance’ on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018Progressive leader warns members could vote no on drug price bill as it standsDemocrats work to bring labor on board trade dealMORE (D-Wis.), met with Pelosi and relevant committee chairmen on Friday morning to press their case for the changes once again. Pocan said after the meeting that leadership made no commitments.
We just made a very, very strong case why we’d like to see those [changes] included, Pocan said. No commitments. They said they’d get back to us.
There has also been confusion over whether leadership will allow an amendment from Jayapal that was adopted in the House Education and Labor Committee to remain in the bill. The amendment would extend limits on drug price increases to people in private employer-sponsored health plans, not just those on Medicare.
Jayapal is frustrated that her amendment, passed through regular order, might be stripped out, and said she has not been given a clear answer as to whether the amendment would remain in the bill.
I don’t know why I’m having to fight so hard for an amendment that already passed through committee, Jayapal said.