What If Democrats Stonewalled the Drug Companies’ Response to COVID-19?

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Now you know why we DO NOT want Congress controlling the prescription drug industry.
 
For days Republicans tried to push trillion dollar-plus legislation through Congress intended to mitigate the economic damage imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Democrats were part of the back-room negotiations all along, according to news reports. Yet, when the time came to shut up and vote up, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and every other Democrat voted no.
 
Not once, but twice. And maybe a third or fourth time before this is over.
 
Thank goodness the drug manufacturers didn’t have to wait for Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to be happy before they began trying to find a vaccine and a treatment for the coronavirus.
 
BUT, drug companies would if Democrats had their way.
 
That’s the essence of Pelosi’s bill, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which passed the Democratically controlled House in December.
 
Indeed, even though Dems aren’t demanding that be part of the Phase 3 spending bill—as far as we know—one of their reasons for stonewalling the bill was to gain more control over corporate decisions, include billions in unrelated handouts and pass several of their progressive priorities.
 
For example, Pelosi’s House released its demands for the Phase 3 bill, which, according to one comparison of the Republican and Democratic plans, included, among other things: 

  • A limit on executive compensation and a temporary prohibition on corporate stock buybacks. 
  • $600 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and $42.5 million for the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution. 
  • $4 billion in state grants to support election-related issues such as promoting vote-by-mail and same-day voter registration. 
  • Carbon emissions oversight for the airlines. 
  • Ensuring collective bargaining rights for federal employees.

While IPI absolutely agrees that oversight is needed whenever the government hands out taxpayer money, it’s unclear to us how federal employee bargaining rights saves the economy.
 
Now imagine if a COVID-19 vaccine were being held up because Democrats wanted more money for the National Endowment for the Arts. Or if clinical trials for a coronavirus treatment were blocked unless states were required to implement same-day voter registration.
 
A month ago, when COVID-19 cases were just beginning to multiply in the United States, we wrote: “Just imagine
what would happen if the government were tasked with developing new medicines, as some people are proposing. Congress might have to approve the unanticipated and unbudgeted additional spending. But Congress is tied up in an impeachment knot right now. Very little is getting done.”
 
And very little IS getting done. And THAT’S why we cannot let Congress control the drug industry.

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