House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices

House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices
© Getty Images

The House will vote next week on a sweeping Democratic bill to lower drug prices, leaders announced on Thursday. 

The bill, a top priority for Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' MORE (D-Calif.) and House Democrats, would allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for up to 250 drugs per year, with the lower prices applied to people with private insurance as well as Medicare. 

Democrats have tried to show that they are moving forward with kitchen-table issues like lowering drug prices at the same time they are also taking steps forward on impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are going to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, and make those prices available to Americans with private insurance as well as Medicare beneficiaries,” Pelosi said in a statement along with Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority MORE (D-Md.) and three key committee chairmen, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (D-N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills To support today's students, Congress must strengthen oversight of colleges Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' MORE (D-Va.). “American seniors and families shouldn’t have to pay more for their medicines than what Big Pharma charges in other countries for the same drugs.”

The bill is expected to pass on a largely party-line vote, but is likely to die in the Senate, given that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner MORE (R-Ky.) has called the legislation “socialist” and vowed to block it. 

Republicans have warned the bill would hinder the development of new cures. 

Pelosi had been hoping that Trump would lend his support to the bill to help it get through the Senate, but after months of talks, the White House has recently started attacking the bill, making clear its opposition. 

Trump is instead backing a more modest bipartisan drug-pricing bill in the Senate, from Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate begins preparations for Trump trial Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Lawmakers call for FTC probe into top financial data aggregator Overnight Health Care: Progressives raise red flags over health insurer donations | Republican FTC commish backs Medicare negotiating drug prices | Trump moves to protect money for religious groups MORE (D-Ore.), though that measure also faces opposition from many GOP senators. 

There is still some question about House progressives’ stance on Pelosi’s bill. Progressives have pushed for months for the bill to be stronger, including allowing negotiations on a higher number of drugs per year, but they have not explicitly threatened to vote no if they do not get their changes.