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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 PelosiNew Mexico Democrat Stansbury sworn into Haaland's old seat Greene apologizes for comparing vaccine rules to Holocaust Overnight Health Care: Biden pleads for more people to get vaccinated | Harris highlights COVID-19 vaccination safety | Novavax COVID-19 vaccine shown highly effective in trial 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 McConnellBipartisan infrastructure deal takes fire from left and right Jayapal to Dems: Ditch bipartisanship, go it alone on infrastructure The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Biden's European trip 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 TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations 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.