It was a snapshot of partisan gridlock: The weekly roll call report of key votes in Washington.
Last week’s report showed the House was on recess but the Senate had 10 key votes. Most concerned judges in different states but others were about the U.N. ambassador and the budget plan.
Looking closely at it, Wisconsin’s two senators could not agree on a single vote. Not one.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the Democrat, voted no on all but the budget and Sen. Ron. Johnson, the Republican, voted yes on all but the budget.
Most weekly roll call reports show some agreement, at least on one or two votes, but not this time. And really, this one told the story of Washington on many, many issues.
Given the great partisan divide, can we encourage our senators, and all members of Congress, to find a couple of issues to rally around? Issues that matter to Americans.
While everyone is talking about gun issues and whether Washington can do anything about it this time, there’s another obvious issue that merits action.
The escalating cost of prescription drugs already is gaining some bipartisan support in Washington. And for good reason.
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The average drug price increase in the first six months of this year was 10.5%, wrote Sam Wilson, AARP state director. He encouraged Baldwin and Johnson to lead the way and support the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, which passed the Senate Finance Committee with strong support in July.
“In March AARP launched a nationwide campaign called ‘Stop Rx Greed’ to rein in prices for all Americans,” Wilson wrote. “The bill under consideration in the Senate would cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors and crack down on drug makers whose price hikes outpace inflation.”
In a column first published in The Los Angeles Times, two writers discussed the Trump administration’s initiative to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada.
“The latest initiative would allow states, pharmacies and drug makers to seek federal approval for demonstration projects to import drugs that are similar or identical to drugs already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” wrote Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, and John J. Cohrssen, an attorney.
It sounds good, but many Republicans oppose this and the Trump administration’s previous attempts at some form of price controls have failed.
This is an issue, unlike many, that has people on both sides of the aisle interested in getting something done.
The Senate can finish the job on the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act when it returns from recess, and we look forward to seeing yes votes by Baldwin and Johnson. That would be progress on an issue that matters to Americans.