House passes Pelosi drug bill along largely partisan lines, faces likely defeat in Senate

An image of Nancy Pelosi standing at a podium wearing a red blazer.
A bill advocated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lower drug prices passes the House but likely won't even reach the Senate floor. (Getty images/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed a major drug prices bill with minimal bipartisan support Thursday, as the legislation moves to a reluctant Senate.

The Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act would give the Department of Health and Human Services the power to negotiate prices for the priciest drugs offered on Medicare. The drug companies would also be required to offer that rate to commercial health plans.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 230-192, with only two Republicans joining Democrats to pass it.

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RELATED: Pelosi's bill aimed at Medicare negotiation powers advances in House amid partisan clashes

Now the legislation heads to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that it will essentially be dead on arrival.

President Donald Trump has also opposed the legislation, despite previously calling for Medicare to negotiate to lower drug prices while on the campaign trail in 2016.

Republicans have charged that Pelosi’s bill would lead to fewer drugs reaching the market. Republicans have pointed to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that found the legislation could lead to 10 fewer drugs reaching the market because of less revenue.

The White House pointed to an estimate from the Council of Economic Advisers that the bill could lead to as many as “100 fewer drugs entering the United States market over the next decade,” according to a blog post.

RELATED: Top Pelosi aide urges insurance industry to fight for drug prices plan, blunt opposition

Meanwhile, another piece of legislation led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is losing ground due to insufficient GOP support. The legislation would include an inflationary cap on Part D drugs.

While Grassley was able to muscle the bill through the Senate Finance Committee that he chairs, McConnell has yet to bring up the legislation for a vote on the Senate floor.

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