Nancy Pelosi’s Drug Law Push Hits Roadblock In Congress

( Nancy Pelosi may not get what she wants this time around, as it appears she has a lot of work to do to stuff the government’s spending and infrastructure bills with a plan to lower prescription drug prices.

The speaker of the House has been trying to insert her legislation that would attempt to lower the prices of prescription drugs. The act would give power to the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices for prescription drugs.

The department would be able to negotiate the price for 125 drugs that make up the most spending under the Medicare plan. As part of Pelosi’s legislation, drug prices couldn’t exceed 120% of the average price that other countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada pay.

Despite Pelosi’s push, there isn’t a lot of confidence that the bill will go through without being changed substantially.

Back in 2019, the House passed the bill along mostly party lines, with only two Republicans supporting it. Since then, though, things have changed a lot.

Centrist Democrats voted for the bill because they knew it wasn’t going to get any support in the Senate. Now, though, with liberals controlling both chambers of Congress, it could go through without a hitch. That is forcing some of the centrist Democrats in the House to re-think their support for the bill.

In the spring, 10 House Democrats sent a letter to Pelosi saying they had reservations about her bill. The letter warned that in other nations that fix drug prices, “effective cancer treatments may not be realized by the patient community for an extended period of time. There is a balance between innovation and affordability.”

Representative Scott Peters, from California, was the most outspoken of the group of Democrats. In May, he said the proposed bill “would not be negotiation, but price-fixing. It will result in the defunding of science.”

The group of centrist Democrats called on their leader in the House to work with Republicans to come up with a bipartisan bill, rather than one only crafted by Democrats.

Peters is just one of the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House. In the next few weeks, that committee is expected to start debating the bill.

If it comes out of committee unchanged, it’ll be integrated into the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan. Then, Democrats will look to push it through the House quickly and send it to the Senate, where the upper chamber wants to pass it using budget reconciliation — without the support of any Republicans.

With such a small majority in the House, though, it’s possible that a coalition of concerned Democrats could hold up the overall spending and infrastructure plan if they don’t like how Pelosi handles the prescription drug proposal.

Right now, Democrats only have an advantage of 220-212 over Republicans. That means if all Republicans oppose the bill and are joined by those 10 centrist Democrats, the bill would be dead on arrival.