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President Donald J. Trump. Photo: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional Republicans don't seem to have the pharmaceutical industry's back the way they used to — and the way the industry might expect them to, after donating millions of dollars to GOP campaigns, cycle after cycle.

The big picture: The Trump administration rolled out a drug-pricing proposal last week that pharma hates — and that, on paper, congressional Republicans should hate, too.

  • It would take a bite out of drug companies' bottom lines, and it would do so by piggybacking off of European countries’ price controls.
  • But there was barely a peep from Capitol Hill as Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the proposal.

"People are definitely kind of blindsided by it. They think, 'Oh my gosh, this is so much worse than we were expecting'," a pharmaceutical lobbyist told Axios.

Between the lines: Pharma industry PACs have given almost $9 million to Republican candidates this cycle, according to Center for Responsive Politics, on top of $11 million in 2016, and $9 million in 2014.

  • "To some extent, the lobbying effort has looked like how you would treat a traditional Republican administration and a Republican-controlled Congress. And that's not at all what we have. We have something that looks wildly different than that," the lobbyist said.

Yes, but: For pharma companies, betting on Republicans is still safer than helping out Democratic campaigns.

  • And the proposal Trump rolled out last week is simply a plan to come up with a plan. There will still be plenty of opportunities for industry to try to kill it, as they did with a similar initiative under the Obama administration.
  • Republicans' silence now doesn’t necessarily mean they won't return to industry’s side if and when Democrats gain power.
  • "The real test will be, do Republicans vote ‘no’ on this shit when it’s on the floor?" the lobbyist said.

The bottom line: "This is what is so surprising, is it's a midterm play for Republicans. Because they are so desperate to get well on health care that they actually want to be talking about major drug pricing initiatives," the industry lobbyist said.

Go deeper

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President Biden said Tuesday that he supports efforts by private businesses to require coronavirus vaccines.

Driving the news: Biden's comments come hours after New York City announced it would demand proof of vaccination for indoor activities, including trips to gyms and restaurants.

Biden calls on Cuomo to resign after sexual harassment findings

Cuomo with Biden and Sen. Chuck Schumer in September 2020. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign on Tuesday after an independent investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including employees in his office, in violation of state and federal law.

Why it matters: Unlike dozens of other prominent Democrats, Biden held off on calling for Cuomo's resignation in March when the allegations of sexual misconduct first emerged.

Biden expected to announce new eviction ban

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President Biden is expected to reveal a new, more "targeted" ban on evictions, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The Biden administration allowed the previous eviction moratorium to expire on Saturday night — putting millions of people at risk of homelessness.

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