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Democrats in tough races celebrate new party-line bill, vowing lower drug costs

WASHINGTON Democrats in competitive election races were quick to tout their sweeping new climate and economic package after it passed the Senate on Sunday in a party-line vote, with all Republicans opposing it.

Some were particularly wanting to celebrate the policies targeted at cutting prescription drug costs.

Im especially proud the legislation includes two provisions I introduced to cap insulin charges for Medicare patients at $35 per month also to limit the expense of prescription medications for seniors, said Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., who faces Republican Herschel Walker in another of probably the most competitive Senate races this fall.

The Inflation Reduction Act empowers Medicare, for the very first time, to negotiate the cost of certain drugs directly with the pharmaceutical industry, a move supported by 83% of Americans in a poll conducted last fall by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., another politically vulnerable incumbent, also took credit for the policy. We secured our plan to lessen prescription drug prices in the ultimate bill, he said.

Democratic strategists are relying on the issue to greatly help them navigate stiff political headwinds within their quest to help keep control of Congress, with Republicans having to pick up just a couple of seats in November to fully capture majorities in both chambers.

“The prescription drug piece is incredibly, popular,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said. “Folks have wanted it for a long period. It is a real chance for Joe Biden to state hes fighting with special interests and for individual candidates to state a similar thing, she said, noting that the policy is specially powerful among older women, an integral bloc of swing voters.

It creates a contrast. No Republican voted for this,” she said.

Republicans blast ‘socialist price controls’

Asked if opposing the drug pricing provisions will be politically dangerous for his party, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed them as socialist price controls that could harm the purpose of a wholesome pharmaceutical industry.

I dont think socializing prices that’s, putting the federal government responsible for this may be the solution to continue the type of healthy, effective pharmaceutical industry that saved the lives of an incredible number of Americans, he told reporters last month, predicting that it could result in fewer cures” and “shorter lives.

Because the bill advanced through chamber on the weekend, Senate Republicans voted unanimously for an amendment to exempt certain drugs that treat conditions like Alzheimers and cancer. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., who proposed the provision, said subjecting those drugs to the bills policies would kill innovation. Democrats voted it down.

Blake Masters, the Arizona Republican dealing with Kelly this fall, vowed in a video Sunday that hes likely to own this terrible vote.

However, not all GOP candidates in competitive races are rushing to oppose the Democrats pharmaceutical policy, indicating its popularity among voters.

Scott Baugh, the Republican nominee facing Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., in a swing district in Orange County, blasted the majority of the Inflation Reduction Become doubling down on a failed policy, but designated drug pricing because the one item hes available to supporting.

Theres some things within on the drug pricing that people need to look at and fully evaluate, he said in a recently available interview at his Newport Beach office. Im thinking about that, yeah.

Porter, who’s listed by Democrats campaign arm as a front-liner in the battle to help keep House control, told NBC News because the bill had been finalized that she anticipates voting for this.

Ive done too much to endure pharmaceutical companies, she said. I believe Medicare will be able to negotiate prices.

Some progressives, with complaints that the Medicare negotiations would take too much time to activate, have said Americans wont have the benefits for a long time. Which means Democrats may need to pull a solid sales job should they want voters to reward them in the midterms.

After his attempts to strengthen the provision failed, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called it a little step in coping with the outrageous prices of prescription medications.

Unfortunately, that provision will not activate until 2026 and starts with only 10 drugs, he said Sunday.

Make ‘prescription drugs cheaper’

The legislation cleared the Senate with the support of most 50 Democrats and the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. The bill now would go to the home, where it really is likely to pass this week with Democrats from various factions of almost all caucus coalescing around it.

While congressional leaders have a tendency to shy from passing major legislation so near an election, the brand new bill can be an exception, partly because Democrats visit a net political benefit.

The legislation is really a potpourri of poll-tested ideas backed by a variety of voters. The drug pricing and deficit reduction components resonate particularly with older and swing voters, and the climate provisions, which total the biggest spending in U.S. history on the problem, with the Democratic base and younger Americans.

The bill would also prevent a sticker shock by means of higher premium hikes before the midterm election, which Democrats had feared would he politically damaging in their mind.

It’ll energize our base by tackling climate change and show swing voters Democrats are seriously interested in fiscal responsibility and tackling inflation, said Sean McElwee, a progressive strategist with Data For Progress, whose polling on the bill was cited by Schumer.

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman, who’s dealing with celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz within an open seat, also promoted the legislation, saying it could start reducing inflation and lower charges for working families.

Among other activities, it could make medical health insurance and prescription medications cheaper,” he said.

J.B. Poersch, president of Senate Majority PAC, a deep-pocketed group attempting to boost Democrats, told NBC News, Americans are searching for tangible steps towards lowering costs. Lowering dug costs, capping insulin charges for Medicare patients and preventing Republicans from terminating Obamacare are real steps.

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