Democrats are gearing up for a fight to include the insulin price cap in their climate and health care bill as they prepare for a long night of votes on Saturday.
They included an insulin price cap provision in their legislation, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which was negotiated jointly by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin. The legislation would cap the cost of insulin at $35.
But Senate Rep. Elizabeth MacDonough issued guidance against a provision that would have forced drug companies to cut Medicare if they raised drug prices higher than inflation.
Democrats hope to pass the bill through a process called fiscal reconciliation, which would allow them to pass it with a simple majority. Should the bill pass that process, it would allow them to avoid a Republican filibuster, as Democrats hold only 50 seats in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie.
The member of the Senate must determine whether aspects of the legislation are related to the budget or are “extraneous matter”. If he decides that a piece of legislation is not related to the budget, Democrats will have a vote on the amendment during a “vote-a-rama,” where a series of amendments are voted on in favor of the bill.
The Speaker could ignore the MP and decide that he was complying with the rules on budget agreement, but that would require 60 votes to pass the amendment that way, as Invitation card mentionted.
Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who is running for re-election this year, has made containing the cost of insulin a signature issue in his campaign against Republican Herschel Walker.
“The MP is not the issue here,” he told reporters on Saturday. “The Senate is, no matter how it governs. Let’s be really clear. If that doesn’t happen tonight, it’s because people have put politics ahead of the people they were sent here to represent.”
Mr. Warnock said every Democrat was on board and noted that his insulin legislation was bipartisan. He also added that people have already blocked this legislation.
“Why did they do this? What does this mean for the people themselves,” he said.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin said there hasn’t been any kind of discussion of a floor vote, and added that Republicans haven’t had a discussion on insulin either.
“So there are no rumours. But I hope I mean, there was obviously a lot of bipartisan work done on the measure that Susan Collins spearheaded,” he told reporters.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island wasn’t so sure: “I’d like to say yes, but there’s enough disarray around here that it’s hard to be very sure.”