Okay, someone is thinking seriously about taking the American people’s side in a Senate debate, just like his late colleague Edward M Kennedy used to do so forcefully: North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan wants to blow up the deal the White House and Finance Chairman Max Baucus made with Big PhRMA to screw Americans who need pharmaceutical drugs.
A Senate Democratic leader is hoping to blow up the deal reached between the White House, drug makers and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), by introducing an amendment on the floor to allow prescription drugs to be re-imported from Canada.
It’s one of the simplest ways to reduce health care costs but was ruled out by the agreement, which limits Big Pharma’s contribution to health care reform to $80 billion over ten years.
North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, a member of Democratic leadership, isn’t a party to that bargain. "Senator Dorgan intends to offer an amendment to the health reform bill and his expectation is that it will be one of the first amendments considered," his spokesman Justin Kitsch told HuffPost in an e-mail. "Prescription drug importation is an immediate way to put downward pressure on health care costs. It has bipartisan support, and has been endorsed by groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses and AARP."
This is the same deal that Delaware Senator Tom Carper (D-really?) defended so profusely last week during a Committee meeting:
"This is not the way that I would like to be treated," Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said during a Finance Committee debate over an amendment that would have broken the PhRMA deal. "Whether you like PhRMA or not, we have a deal."
Echoes of Teddy Kennedy heard from other non-ConservaDems make it seem possible that Dorgan could break the deal, which not all agree binds the Senate. New York’s Chuck Schumer, finding his populist voice, was clear about how bound he felt to the secret deal:
Nonsense, said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y), insisting that he and his colleagues were not bound by the agreement. "That’s a value judgment," Schumer said. "This is going to be a constant debate when we come to this bill, and I don’t disagree that this is a difficult balance, but how often do we side with one of the interest groups, and how often do we side with the average citizens?"
h/t Byron Dorgan’s proud constituent Prairie Sunshine