As Senate Democrats look to move toward a new reconciliation package, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY., is expected to submit language to Senate lawmakers Wednesday for a proposal that would allow Medicare to influence prescription drug prices.
The last time Democrats tried to push through a major reconciliation bill, Sen, who thought it too expensive at a time when the country was already dealing with significant inflation. Joe Manchin, DW.Va. Removed by At this point, according to Punchbowl News, Manchin is at least on board with the idea of a Medicare prescription drug.
A summary of the proposed bill says it would affect drug prices, “by encouraging manufacturers and insurers to lower drug prices and putting them on the hook for higher drug prices and costs.” It also includes free vaccines for senior citizens and increased money to help pay premiums and co-pays for low-income Americans.
But even if Schumer is making progress on that front, that doesn’t mean Democrats will necessarily renew and pass President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, or even a small-scale version of it. Punchbowl reports that the Senate leader and Manchin are still discussing other parts of the package, such as climate change and tax reform.
SEN Joe Manchin says he would be open to a new version of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda
Last year, Manchin said he did “everything humanly possible” to negotiate a compromise with party leaders to create a plan he would be comfortable supporting, but those efforts ultimately failed.
Amid continued inflation, the national debt, “geopolitical unrest” and the COVID-19 pandemic, Manchin said in December that the bill pushed by his fellow Democrats was too much.
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“When you have these things going the way they are right now … I can’t vote to continue this legislation,” he said, adding that if he can’t explain to his constituents why he will vote for the bill, then he won’t be able to vote for it, even if he and other Democrats try to make it work.
Manchin previously proposed a $1.7 trillion price tag for the spending package, but he said his Democratic colleagues have not made the necessary compromises. He noted that both he and President Biden tried hard to make it work.
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“What we need to do is get our financial house in order, but we can pay for what we do and we can do what we pay for,” he said.
Also in December, Manchin said lawmakers must address inflation that “has hurt so many Americans.” Since then, the problem has worsened.