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Pelosi cedes to progressive caucus demands in drug pricing bill after AOC, others threatened to delay vote

Pelosi cedes to progressive caucus demands in drug pricing bill after AOC, others threatened to delay vote

by Brie Stimson | Fox News  |  Published on December 11, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ceded to much of the progressive caucus’ demands late Tuesday in a drug pricing bill as liberal lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D. N.Y., have said they wouldn’t support the speaker’s bill – scheduled for a vote this Thursday – without changes.

Ocasio-Cortez and others have urged Pelosi for months to make the bill more progressive and have threatened to delay it without tweaks, Politico reported.

The changes, brokered with the chairs of the progressive caucus, Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., include increasing the number of drugs that can be negotiated under the bill and extending protections against drug price hikes from those on Medicare to include those with employer-sponsored plans.

“This is a huge win, and it shows what we can do when we stick together and all push hard for the American people,” Jayapal said in a statement, according to The Hill.

“As the bill stands, she plans on voting no,” an Ocasio-Cortez spokesperson said earlier Tuesday, according to CNBC.

The congresswoman has not clarified if the latest changes will change her vote on the bill.

House leaders had resisted the changes over fears of losing moderates, especially in vulnerable districts critical to keeping a Democratic majority, Politico reported.

“Make my day,” moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., said over the potential delay, according to Politico. “I think the speaker understands the politics better than some of our progressive colleagues.”

Mitch McConnell likely won’t take up the bill in the Senate and President Trump has planned to veto it if it passes through Congress.

In a statement, Trump said the bill would “likely undermine access to lifesaving medicines.”

The Congressional Budget Office said the bill likely would save Medicare $345 billion over a decade, CNBC reported.

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