Politics GOP colluding with Big Pharma behind closed doors to undermine bill lowering prescription costs
Retiring Bill Russell's No. 6 ensures his legacy of equality and justice endures | Opinion
Bill Russell joins Jackie Robinson and Wayne Gretzksy as the only players in American professional sports to have their numbers retired leaguewide.Whoever brought him or her to the game will explain that some are to commemorate the titles the team has won while others are to honor the team’s best players. And that No. 6? That, the child will be told, is to honor the great Bill Russell, who won more championships than anybody else and who stood taller than his 6-foot-10 frame in fighting racism and other social injustices.
US Senator Mike Crapo speaks during Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 8, 2022. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Republican lawmakers are working behind closed doors to convince the Senate parliamentarian—the chamber's unelected rules arbiter—to tank Democrats' watered-down but still potentially impactful proposal to require Medicare to negotiate the prices of a small number of prescription drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, aof pharmaceutical industry campaign cash, admitted as much in remarks to reporters on Tuesday, that he and his GOP colleagues are "going through line by line, literally, making objections" in private meetings with the Senate parliamentarian, who is tasked with offering advice on whether reconciliation provisions comply with chamber rules.
NBA to retire Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey league-wide, paying homage to Boston Celtics' legend
Bill Russell is the first NBA player to have his number retired across the league. Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in Major League Baseball and Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 in the NHL are also retired across their respective leagues. “Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.
Under the Senate's, every provision of a reconciliation package must have a direct, not "merely incidental," impact on the federal budget. Democrats contend their Medicare proposal meets that requirement, citing the Congressional Budget Office's recent that the plan would save the federal government $290 billion over 10 years.
But Crapo insisted Tuesday that "there are many Byrd objections," and Politicothat Democrats are currently "making tweaks" to the legislation to ensure it survives the parliamentarian's scrutiny—even though the official's opinions are nonbinding and .
"Republicans are working hand in hand with Big Pharma to try to block Democrats from lowering drug prices," warned Social Security Works, a progressive advocacy group.
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For more than a year, Democrats have wrestled with the massive climate, health and tax package at the center of their domestic agenda, triggering clashes between the various party factions and sparking doubts about President Biden’s capacity to unite his troops behind transformative legislation. This week’s vote to get the enormous proposal over the finish…This week’s vote to get the enormous proposal over the finish line will feature no such drama.
The GOP's efforts come as the pharmaceutical industry isits huge army of Capitol Hill lobbyists in a last-ditch campaign to defeat Democrats' plan, which would require Medicare to directly negotiate the prices of a —an idea that is overwhelmingly popular with the U.S. public.
While Democrats' proposal hasfrom progressive lawmakers who say it doesn't do enough to challenge the pharmaceutical industry's power to drive up costs, advocates and experts say the bill could still have a significant effect on prices for seniors and , given that a account for a major portion of Medicare's prescription drug spending.
"Sen. Mike Crapo is proud that he's trying to gut legislation to lower drug prices supported by more than 70% of Americans,"David Mitchell, the founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs. "Legislation to improve health and save Americans money. Folks in Idaho need to know he's not working for them—he's working for Big Pharma."
Landmark climate and health care legislation passes the House
Landmark climate and health care legislation passes the HouseThe legislation was an unexpected resurrection of some pieces of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, pulled together in a surprising deal by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the most conservative member of the Democratic caucus. The bill moved quickly: A deal was announced on July 27, it passed the Senate on Aug. 7 and cleared the House only days later.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is aiming to get the Medicare proposal as well as a plan to extend Affordable Care Actthrough the chamber before the August recess, which is set to begin next week.
In the face of unanimous Republican opposition, Democrats will need the support of all fifty senators in their caucus to pass the reconciliation package, which is exempt from the 60-vote filibuster.
"Republicans are going to use every tool they have to keep drug prices high and drug industry profits higher," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.,Tuesday.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii,that "every single elected Republican in the Senate is about to vote against reducing the cost of prescription drugs for those on Medicare."
"This is not a show vote or a symbolic thing—we are going to make a new law," Schatz wrote. "It will save seniors thousands of dollars a year."
McConnell complains about 'candidate quality' while investing in Senate races for GOP contenders .
Despite concerns over "candidate quality" in Senate races across the country, McConnell continues investing in GOP candidates, many of whom have criticized his leadership.On Thursday, when asked for his 2022 prediction at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon, McConnell cited "candidate quality" as a reason why he believes Republicans will face difficulty in flipping the Senate in November and instead might only be able to flip control of the House.