Weekly Policy Update: Congressional Drug Pricing Effort Advances
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 09/17/2021
House Democrats are in the process of including the policies contained within H.R. 3 into their 10-year, $3.5 trillion spending plan that they hope to pass using the budget reconciliation process.
House members ended up voting on the proposals contained within H.R. 3 twice on Wednesday before breaking for Yom Kippur. The first vote took place in the House Energy and Commerce Committee where three Democrats, Representatives Scott Peters, Kurt Schrader, and Kathleen Rice voted with Republicans to tie the vote on the proposals at 29-29, meaning the proposals did not advance. All three Representatives are also co-sponsors of The Reduced Costs and Continued Cures Act, which is being portrayed as an alternative to the policies within H.R. 3.
Despite the success seen earlier in the day, the same proposals were voted on and then approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, which also has authority over drug pricing. Work on the reconciliation package now turns to the House Budget Committee. They are tasked with turning individual markups completed this week by House committees into the package that will be voted on by the full House. This process is expected to go through the end of the month and possibly into October.
This week CBSA sent targeted letters to Rep. Diana DeGette, and Sen. John Hickenlooper outlining our high-level concerns with H.R.3. We included a supporting letter from well-known U.S. investors in life sciences. The outreach to Rep. DeGette was particularly timely as she is also a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. CBSA also sent a letter to the entire Colorado Congressional delegation on Wednesday, highlighting lost jobs, reduced economic impact, price controls already taking effect in Colorado, and the alternative to H.R. 3, The Reduced Costs and Continued Cures Act. In addition to the letters that were sent out, CBSA had a productive meeting with Sen. Michael Bennet’s staff to discuss our concerns.
Read the letters:
CBSA will continue to engage with the Colorado Congressional delegation and individual members as the budget reconciliation package moves through Congress. This engagement is driven by our commitment to advancing policies that increase affordability for patients while supporting a pro-innovation environment for life sciences in Colorado.