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 PelosiCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Top Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays 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 McConnellCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks Overnight Health Care: Ohio governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump's visit | US shows signs of coronavirus peak, but difficult days lie ahead | Trump: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready 'right around' Election Day 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 TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test 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.