Senate GOP blocks Medicare Part D negotiation bill

Senate Republicans Wednesday blocked legislation that would allow the government to negotiate drug prices for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Democrats fell four votes short of the required 60 to invoke cloture. Six Republicans, Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP ObamaCare fight faces do-or-die procedural vote The Memo: Trump seeks to put his stamp on nation Johnson becomes fourth GOP senator unwilling to proceed on healthcare bill MORE (Maine), Chuck HagelChuck HagelLobbying World The US just attacked Syria. So where's Congress? Senators tear into Marines on nude photo scandal MORE (Neb.), Gordon Smith (Ore.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Arlen Specter (Pa.), crossed party lines.

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In the end, the vote was 55–42 after Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems face identity crisis Heller under siege, even before healthcare Charles Koch thanks Harry Reid for helping his book sales MORE (D-Nev.) sided with the Republicans for procedural reasons. Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (D-S.D.) and John McCainJohn McCainChanging America, Part VI: America’s growing education divide Congress needs to support the COINS Act GOP’s message on ObamaCare is us versus them MORE (R-Ariz.) did not vote.

The bill would have lifted a prohibition on such negotiations and opened the door to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make deals with the pharmaceutical industry.

The House passed a stronger version of the legislation earlier this year, which would have made such negotiations mandatory. The White House said Bush would veto either version of the bill.

Republicans hailed the vote as a victory for seniors.

“Today the Senate protected healthcare access for tens of millions of seniors as well as price negotiations to ensure they pay the least amount of money for the prescription drugs they need,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP ObamaCare fight faces do-or-die procedural vote Conservative groups hammer Senate healthcare reform bill The Memo: Trump seeks to put his stamp on nation MORE (R-Ky.) said.

He added that the bill would do “nothing” to provide seniors with a better drug benefit.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Tuesday predicted the cloture motion would fail, citing the influence of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.