Senate Dems, Sanders ask Trump to help lower drug prices

Senate Democrats are urging Donald Trump to work with Congress to help lower drug prices. 

Fifteen Democratic senators, as well as Independent Sens. Angus KingAngus KingCollins walks impeachment tightrope The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Congress struggles on rules for cyber warfare with Iran MORE (Maine) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden MORE (Vt.), sent a letter to the president-elect on Tuesday arguing he should follow up on his campaign pledge to try to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. 

"You now have the authority to push for a future that prioritizes patients," the senators wrote in the letter. "We are ready to advance measures to achieve this goal and we urge you to partner with Republicans and Democrats alike to take meaningful steps to address the high cost of prescription drugs through bold administrative and legislative actions."

The Democrats add in the letter—which was spearheaded by Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Senate Democrat: 'Fine' to hear from Hunter Biden Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (Ohio) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenBill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Al Franken mocks McConnell: 'Like listening to Jeffrey Dahmer complain about the decline of dinner party etiquette' MORE (Minn.)—that Americans are struggling to afford medication and frequently have to "choose between paying for prescription drugs and other necessities, like food and shelter." 

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Democrats outlined five areas where they are willing to work with Trump, including helping give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the ability to negotiate drug prices.

"Under current law, the Secretary is prohibited from doing so. We urge you to work with Congress to pass a law that lifts the current ban and gives the Secretary the authority to take immediate action and negotiate better prices for prescription drugs for our nation’s more than 40 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries," the senators wrote. 

Trump criticized high drug prices during the campaign, including saying in New Hampshire that Medicare could save $300 billion a year on prescription drugs if it negotiated prices. 

"We don't do it," he said at the time. "Why? Because of the drug companies." 

Sanders tried to amend a bipartisan medical innovation bill earlier this month to include a provision allowing for drug prices to be negotiated, but he was blocked by Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSekulow indicates White House not interested in motion to dismiss impeachment articles Nadler gets under GOP's skin Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk MORE. The Missouri Republican argued that it could sink passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. 

Democrats are calling on Trump to "increase transparency" by allowing patients to know a drug's "true cost," including tax credits the company receives and the amount of money spent on research and development. 

They also want to Trump to help stop "abusive" price hikes on prescription drugs, help use taxpayer money to research "affordable and effective drugs," and "ensure true competition." 

"It is past time to end the rigging of the prescription drug marketplace," the Democrats wrote. "We urge you to task the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice with aggressively enforcing laws that currently exist and push for new provisions to ensure timely entrance of generics to the marketplace."

In addition to Brown and Franken, Democratic Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Senate Dems urge Esper to oppose shifting Pentagon money to border wall MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Nadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (Ill.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSix mayors making a difference Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Senate Dems urge Esper to oppose shifting Pentagon money to border wall MORE (R.I.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial John Lewis to miss Martin Luther King Jr. Day event MORE (Mich.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden leads Sanders by 7 in new national poll Sanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions MORE (Minn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseCitizens United decision weathers 10 years of controversy Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (R.I.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallIt is time for companies and governments to holistically tackle single-use plastics Citizens United decision weathers 10 years of controversy Overnight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall MORE (N.M), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne Shaheen2020 forecast: A House switch, a slimmer Senate for GOP — and a bigger win for Trump Lewandowski decides against Senate bid Biden would consider Republican for VP 'but I can't think of one right now' MORE (N.H.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyEnvironmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail Senate Democrat says he is concerned intelligence community is 'bending' Soleimani presentations Democrats conflicted over how to limit Trump's war powers MORE (Ore.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (N.Y), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Lawmakers introduce bill to bolster artificial intelligence, quantum computing Trump's China deal is a gift to Wall Street and Beijing MORE (Wis.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineIran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner House war powers sponsor expects to take up Senate version of resolution Sens. Kaine, Lee: 'We should not be at war with Iran unless Congress authorizes it' MORE (Va.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Biden, Sanders tax plans would raise less revenue than claimed: studies MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (Mass.), Sanders and King signed the letter.