Cory Booker tries to shed pro-pharma reputation

Sen. Cory Booker. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some of the left's skepticism of Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) stems from his reputation as a friend of pharma, and he's trying to change that reputation as he runs for president.

Why it matters: As Democrats figure out what and who they want in 2020, a whole lot of the process revolves around health care — not just in the potential litmus test of Medicare for All, but also drug pricing, the Affordable Care Act and how to balance all 3 of those issues.

Booker's pro-pharma reputation has 3 big components: the industry's presence in New Jersey; its contributions to his past campaigns; and his 2017 vote against a non-binding measure to approve of importing drugs from Canada.

Yes, but: He's changed his tune ahead of 2020, STAT notes. Booker has taken a harsher tone toward pharma, even threatening to roll back their patent protections, and said he would stop taking the industry's campaign contributions.

What he's saying: "I live in Newark, a low-income community where people work for pharmaceutical companies," Booker told STAT. "They might be the lab assistant, they might be the secretary, and they value those jobs. And even they know that we can have fair pricing and still have thriving companies. This is not an either-or. And right now we have practices going on that are abusing this nation and constituents of mine."

Go deeper: Pharma critics turn their fire on a Democrat

What's next

New York Times endorses Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for president

Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warrenand Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the December 2020 debatein Los Angeles. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The New York Times editorial board has endorsed Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for president, in a decision announced on national television Sunday night.

Why it matters: The board writes in its editorial that its decision to endorse two candidates is a major break with convention that's intended to address the "realist" and "radical" models being presented to voters by the 2020 Democratic field.

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Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senators will almost certainly get to vote on whether or not to call impeachment witnesses. The resolution laying out the rules of the trial, which will be presented Tuesday, is expected to mandate that senators can take up-or-down votes on calling for witnesses and documents.

Yes, but: Those votes won't come until the House impeachment managers and President Trump's defense team deliver their opening arguments and field Senators' questions.

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White House counsel Pat Cipollone and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump officials say they feel especially bullish about one key argument against calling additional impeachment witnesses: It could compromise America's national security.

The big picture: People close to the president say their most compelling argument to persuade nervous Republican senators to vote against calling new witnesses is the claim that they're protecting national security.