Democrats have clashed after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposed a new signature plan for lowering drug prices.
Several centrists, including Representative Stephanie Murphy who serves as co-chairwoman of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, are warning the leadership that some moderate Democrats might vote against the bill if it moves any further to the left, sources say.
Meanwhile, House progressives are pushing for revisions they say are needed to toughen up the legislation. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Hill, “I really don’t understand” why moderates are objecting to the changes, adding that she was undeterred, The Hill informed.
Pelosi will have to thread the needle between these dueling factions as she plans to bring the measure to the floor as soon as mid-November.
The legislation, a top priority for Democrats, would allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for as many as 250 drugs per year.
The measure would have little chance of advancing in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has called it “socialist” and vowed to block it. Progressives, however, argue Democrats should put out a bold marker rather than negotiate with themselves on something that’s almost certain to die in the Senate anyway.
Pelosi’s office has held out hope that President Trump might endorse her bill, given his rhetoric against high drug prices, and some centrists want to move toward common ground with Republicans to increase those odds.
“The further left you go with drug pricing bills, it just means it’s only going to be a House-only bill and a Democrat-only bill,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), a co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition who faces a tough reelection race. “That’s not helping people in my district.”