Sep 23, 2019

Reconciling the House and Senate's drug pricing bills

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's release of her drug pricing plan last week means that both chambers of Congress are officially working to pass drug pricing legislation, with the White House closely monitoring.

Why it matters: For the time being, each chamber is moving ahead on their own version. Pelosi's was met with some trepidation by progressives, while Sen. Chuck Grassley has his work cut out to convince some of his Republican colleagues to support his bill.

Between the lines: There's a lot of overlap between the two chambers' bills, with the biggest difference being that Pelosi's includes aggressive Medicare price negotiations.

  • There's also a push to combine drug prices with legislation addressing surprise medical bills and overall health costs, which is its own political battle.

The big picture: If both chambers can pass anything — a relatively big if — it's anyone's guess how that happens or how the two versions are reconciled.

  • The administration wants Congress to work it out in a conference committee, a senior administration official told me, and it's remained quiet about the details of Pelosi's bill.
  • "We dig some parts of it, hate other pieces of it, can work through it all in conference, and are pumped that [Pelosi]’s finally in the game," the official said.  

What's next: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold the first hearing on Pelosi's bill on Wednesday.

The bottom line: The White House is still the ultimate wild card.

Go deeper: The Trump-Pelosi mind meld on drug costs

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Pelosi's point of no return

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Although they still talk about it on-camera as an inquiry, some top House Democrats see the actual impeachment of President Trump as increasingly inevitable.

  • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), reflecting the views of several members we talked to, said he thinks impeachment will happen by the end of 2019: "My hope is it is expeditious. I don't want the clock to run out."
Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 29, 2019

Pete Buttigieg joins 2020 Democrats' leftward march on drug prices

Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg released Tuesday his plan to reduce prescription drug prices, which includes many of the liberal proposals that have become the new Democratic normal.

Between the lines: This plan puts Buttigieg somewhere in the leftward middle of the top-tier candidates on drug prices. The field — and the party as a whole — is much more aggressive on the subject than Democrats have been in the past.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Pelosi: Trump-Ukraine memo confirms need for impeachment inquiry

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement Wednesday that the Trump-Ukraine call memo released by the White House "confirms that the President engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security."

Why it matters: While the White House remains adamant that the call shows no wrongdoing and no quid pro quo, Pelosi appears committed to moving forward with an impeachment inquiry.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019