Top Oversight Dem to meet with Trump about prescription drug prices

Top Oversight Dem to meet with Trump about prescription drug prices
© Moriah Ratner

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) will meet President Trump at the White House on Wednesday to discuss lowering prescription drug prices, an issue the top House Oversight Committee Democrat has long advocated for. 

The White House gathering comes shortly after Trump claimed that Cummings canceled a meeting last month because of partisan politics.

“He was probably told, ‘Don’t meet with Trump, it’s bad politics,’ and that’s part of the problem in this country,” Trump said during a February press conference at the White House, speculating that Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump is right: The visa lotto has got to go Schumer predicts bipartisan support for passing DACA fix this year No room for amnesty in our government spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.) “or some other lightweight” had pressured Cummings into abandoning the meeting.

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Cummings denied the allegation that the meeting was called off because of political pressure.

“I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today. Of course, Senator Schumer never told me to skip a meeting with the president,” Cummings said at the time. “I was actually looking forward to meeting with the President about the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs.”

As the top Democrat on the Oversight panel, Cummings has called for investigations into Trump’s business conflicts of interest and ties to Russia.

But in a statement on Tuesday, Cummings sounded an optimistic note on finding potential common ground with Trump. 

"Our hope is that the President will make good on his promise and join us in convincing congressional Republicans to finally start helping American families who rely on these life-saving medications,” Cummings said. 

The meeting comes amid House Republicans' rollout of a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

Rep. Peter WelchPeter WelchTrump talks tough but little action seen on drug prices Frustrated with Trump, Dems introduce drug pricing bill Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-Vt.), a member of the House Oversight and House Energy and Commerce committees, will join Cummings at the White House meeting with Trump. The president of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Redonda Miller, will also be present.

Trump’s willingness to meet with Cummings about lowering prescription drug prices goes against the traditional GOP position opposing government action to address the costs.

Trump said in a December Time Magazine interview that he’s “going to bring down drug prices” and has said the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder.”

Trump initially called Cummings in January to discuss high prescription drug prices, reportedly after seeing the lawmaker on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”