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Biden appears with vulnerable House Democrat in Virginia

Associated Press/Alex Brandon

President Biden on Thursday appeared with Rep. Abigail Spanberger (Va.), a vulnerable House Democrat, to discuss lowering prescription drug costs.

The president touted the work the congresswoman has done on health care while highlighting reducing medical costs, which is a key provision of his Build Back Better agenda.

“Its great to be here with Abigail, congresswoman Spanberger. And in every chapter in her career, in every chapter, she’s always been about one thing: service. Service,” Biden said in remarks in Culpeper, Va.

Biden argued that health care is part of Spanberger’s congressional origin story. 

“Back in 2017, she saw her representative in Congress vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act; that was one of more than 100 Republican efforts,” he said. “But she knew that was the exact opposite of what central Virginia badly needed.” 

Spanberger defeated former Republican Rep. Dave Brat in 2018 and was reelected in 2020 by a margin of 1.8 percent. Biden won Virginia in 2020 by over 54 percent and narrowly won her district.

The Cook Political Report says Spanberger’s race currently leans Democratic. A crowded Republican primary for the commonwealth’s 7th Congressional District includes state Sen. Bryce Reeves (R) and Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega, among others. 

The district is newly redrawn and no longer includes various Richmond-area suburbs that were part of Spanberger’s base. The district now extends from Caroline County to Madison County, including Fredericksburg and Dale City. 

Spanberger said that since she first ran for Congress, lowering drug prices has been top of mind for her constituents. 

“They are outraged that in the United States of America, they have to pay ten times as much or more as patients in other countries pay for the same medication,” she said.

She said she talks to constituents about delaying rent payments to buy medications, seniors skipping a meal because they can’t afford medication, and parents considering draining education funds to pay for medicine. 

“Even in the midst of this moment of recovery, our communities still struggle with the sticker price of many items, including and especially at the pharmacy counter. COVID has exacerbated what was always, already a staggering day-to-day cost for Virginia families and we are long overdue in addressing it,” she said. 

Spanberger said she welcomes any effort in Congress to lower drug prices and hold drug companies accountable for increasing prices.

“We need to buck up and get it done,” she said.

The president was introduced by a child from Chesterfield, Va., with Type 1 diabetes. 

“I have to be careful with my bottles of insulin because they can break very easily and well, I am a 12-year-old boy,” he said. 

He thanked Spanberger and Biden “for all they are doing to make sure I will be able to continue to live safely and actively with affordable insulin.”

Tags 2022 midterm elections Abigail Spanberger healthcare costs Joe Biden prescription drug prices
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