Senate Dems, Sanders ask Trump to help lower drug prices

Senate Democrats are urging Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE to work with Congress to help lower drug prices. 

Fifteen Democratic senators, as well as Independent Sens. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Democrats grill Army, Air Force nominees on military funding for border wall Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year MORE (Maine) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Sanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption 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 BrownBlood cancer patients deserve equal access to the cure Trump admin abruptly delays funding for human trafficking victims: report Overnight Energy: Lawmakers show irritation over withheld Interior documents | Republican offers bipartisan carbon tax bill | Scientists booted from EPA panel form new group MORE (Ohio) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenTake Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show 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 BluntSenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Senate Intelligence report triggers new calls for action on election security Sunday shows - Second whistleblower grabs spotlight 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 LeahyRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter Senator questions agencies on suicide prevention, response after Epstein's death in federal custody During impeachment storm, senators cross aisle to lessen mass incarceration MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Overnight Health Care: Watchdog finds DEA allowed more opioids even as overdose deaths rose | Judge temporarily blocks Georgia abortion law | Three states report more vaping deaths | Dem proposes new fix for surprise medical bills During impeachment storm, senators cross aisle to lessen mass incarceration MORE (Ill.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Congress set for showdown with Trump over Kurds Top Democrats warn against withdrawing from treaty that allows observation flights over Russia MORE (R.I.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowUSDA nixes release of multiple reports over researcher exodus Schumer throws support behind Pelosi impeachment inquiry Senate Democrats hesitant to go all-in on impeachment probe MORE (Mich.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharRepublicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Klobuchar takes shots at health and education plans supported by Sanders and Warren O'Rourke campaign says path to victory hinges on top 5 finishes in Iowa, Nevada MORE (Minn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Trump DOJ under fire over automaker probe The Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks MORE (R.I.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallGreen groups line up behind Markey ahead of looming Kennedy fight Overnight Energy: Lawmakers show irritation over withheld Interior documents | Republican offers bipartisan carbon tax bill | Scientists booted from EPA panel form new group Overnight Energy: Top Interior lawyer accused of lying to Congress confirmed | Senate set to deny funding for BLM move | EPA threatens to cut California highway funds MORE (N.M), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Energy: Advisory panel pushes park service to privatize campgrounds | Dems urge Perry to keep lightbulb efficiency rules | Marshall Islands declares national climate crisis Democrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 | PhRMA CEO warns against Pelosi drug pricing bill | Medicaid work requirements costing states millions MORE (N.H.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Democratic senator on Trump's 'treason' comments about whistleblower: 'I worry about threats on his or her life' Overnight Energy: Lawmakers show irritation over withheld Interior documents | Republican offers bipartisan carbon tax bill | Scientists booted from EPA panel form new group MORE (Ore.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand2020 Presidential Candidates Krystal Ball: Yang campaign a 'triumph of substance over the theatre' Three 2020 candidates have missed about half of Senate votes MORE (N.Y), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinFederal funding for Chinese buses risks our national security Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall The Trump downturn: Trouble ahead for the US economy MORE (Wis.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael Kaine2020 general election debates announced Senators call for Trump administration to testify on Syria Schumer: Transcript 'absolutely validates' Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (Va.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption Biden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' Warren enters crucial debate with big momentum MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Ocasio-Cortez taps supporters for donations as former primary opponent pitches for Kennedy Rep. Joe Kennedy has history on his side in Senate bid MORE (Mass.), Sanders and King signed the letter.