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Cummings Issues Statement on President’s Comments on Drug Prices During State of the Union

Jan 31, 2018
Press Release

Cummings Issues Statement on President’s

Comments on Drug Prices During State of the Union

 

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 31, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s comments during the State of the Union Address regarding the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs:

“As I watched President Trump last night try to claim with a straight face that he wants to work in a bipartisan way to lower drug prices, I was stunned by the complete and utter disconnect between his words and reality.  More than any other Member of Congress, I have tried over and over and over to work with him—including meeting with him at the White House, providing him with a draft bill to allow Medicare to negotiate directly, and sending letter after letter to follow-up—but all I have heard back is radio silence.  Instead, his actions have gone in exactly the opposite direction—tapping a pharmaceutical executive to lead HHS and giving drug companies one of the biggest tax breaks in history despite their already record profits.  These aren’t just empty promises, they are obvious falsehoods.  I must keep up hope that the President will finally change course, and I stand ready to work with him or anyone else should that happen.”

Cummings and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) met with President Trump on March 8, 2017, to discuss the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs and presented the President with draft legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices—a proposal that the President said he backs and that the American people overwhelmingly support.

The President seemed enthusiastic about the proposal and even called Cummings after the meeting to confirm his interest in working together, but the Members never heard anything more from his staff.

On April 20, 2017, Cummings and Welch sent a letter to President Trump reiterating their request to work with him on this issue, then again on June 21, 2017, and for a third time on October 25, 2017.

To date, the President has taken no action relating to the legislative proposal or responded to any letters asking for his support in working to lower prescription drug prices.

On October 25, 2017, Reps. Cummings, Welch, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), along with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), introduced The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act to direct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D.

 

115th Congress