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House vote on Pelosi drug pricing plan slips to December

House vote on Pelosi drug pricing plan slips to December
© Greg Nash

The House will not vote on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE’s (D-Calif.) signature plan to lower drug prices until December as the timeline for taking up the bill slips again. 

A senior Democratic aide said Wednesday that the Congressional Budget Office needs another two weeks to complete its analysis of the legislation, meaning there will not be time for the House to vote on the bill before lawmakers leave for the Thanksgiving recess. 

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Pelosi unveiled the plan in September and had initially hoped to vote on it by late October or early November. 

But the CBO analysis is taking longer than expected. 

Politico first reported the delay in the bill’s timeline on Wednesday. 

A preliminary analysis found that the main section of the bill would save $345 billion over seven years. 

The measure would allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices on up to 250 drugs per year, with savings applied to people on private insurance in addition to those on Medicare. 

The measure is expected to pass the House on a largely party line vote and will likely die in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.) has called it “socialist.”

It is possible some smaller drug pricing measures could be included in a government funding deal at the end of the year, but that remains uncertain. 

Pelosi’s office has been in talks with the White House for months on the legislation, given President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE’s sharp rhetoric on drug prices, but the White House has recently been backing away from the bill in favor of a more modest bipartisan measure in the Senate. 

There are also some bumps to be overcome in the House. Progressives are still pushing for changes to make the bill stronger, despite the fears of some moderate Democrats about pushing the measure farther to the left.