White House says Pelosi plan to lower drug prices 'unworkable'

White House says Pelosi plan to lower drug prices 'unworkable'
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE’s top health care adviser called Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Khanna says President Trump threatening violence against US citizens; Trump terminating relationship with WHO MORE’s (D-Calif.) plan to lower drug prices “unworkable” while endorsing a bipartisan bill in the Senate. 

“Nancy Pelosi’s bill right now is unworkable, it’s impractical, and it's hyperpartisan and it is not going to pass in its current form,” Joe Grogan, head of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, told reporters Friday. 

The Speaker’s bill would allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies, a concept that is described as “socialist” and “price-setting” by Republicans. 

Instead, Grogan said he’s working with Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley, Leahy urge Roberts to permanently air Supreme Court arguments Democrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Senate Dems pump brakes on new stimulus checks | Trump officials sued over tax refunds | Fed to soon open small-business lending program Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks Voting rights, public health officials roll out guidelines to protect voters from COVID-19 MORE (D-Ore.) on a bill that ties Medicare drug prices to the rate of inflation while capping what seniors pay out-of-pocket for their prescriptions.


“We are very supportive of the Grassley-Wyden compromise. It is the product of a really good, bipartisan, collaborate approach to solving drug pricing,” Grogan said. 

Passing drug pricing legislation is a top priority for Trump and Democrats, but there are roadblocks in finding agreement. 

Pelosi and the White House have negotiated on drug pricing legislation since Democrats won back the House last year, but she won’t budge on a provision that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. 

House Democrats need to “cut back on some of these things that are not going to end up on the president’s desk,” Grogan said.

Grogan expressed frustration with the timeline. The government is quickly approaching another spending bill deadline, and Congress has limited days left in the year to pass legislation. 

House Democrats don’t plan to vote on Pelosi’s bill until December. 

“We're done with ideas. Now we've got to get a solution, and we got to get a score by the Congressional Budget Office, we got to get a deal, we got to get on the president's desk,” he said. 

Henry Connelly, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement Friday “big PhRMA” is pushing the White House against her bill. 

“House Democrats are taking the bold action to negotiate lower drug prices that President Trump always claimed was necessary, and the working people won’t like it if he sells them out on one of the most important kitchen table issues in America right now,” Connelly said. 

Meanwhile, the Grassley-Wyden bill is facing an uphill battle in the Senate. 

It has some support from Republicans, but many also oppose it, particularly the provision that requires drug companies pay back Medicare if their prices rise faster than inflation.  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) might be hesitant to call the bill for a vote on the floor given that some of his most politically vulnerable members have declined to support it.

“This is an issue that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to come together and get done, and unfortunately there are some complications on that front,” Grogan said. 

“[Inflation caps] were not the administration’s proposal, but they are the product of a bipartisan compromise, and they are the route to a bipartisan bill, in our opinion."