WASHINGTON — Next year’s Congress will be divided. But when it comes to efforts to lower drug prices, suddenly everyone is on the same page.
First came the surprising remarks from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has until now said little about his interest in the high price of medicines.
“Yeah, I can’t imagine that that won’t be on the agenda,” the Kentucky Republican said at a news conference Wednesday.
Trump expressed his support for working across the aisle on drug prices at a press conference that spanned about an hour and a half on Wednesday. But at the same time, he threatened not to work with the Democrats in general if they use their investigative power to scrutinize his administration.
“I expect that [Democrats] will come up with some fantastic ideas that I can support on the environment, on so many different things, including prescription drug prices, which we’ve made a big dent in already,” Trump said. It’s unclear if he has actually made such a dent.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is is likely to lead Democrats in the House next year, has also expressed a willingness to work with President Trump on drug pricing.
“We could find common ground on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, if the president is serious about his saying that he wants to do that,” Pelosi said in an interview with PBS NewsHour on Election Day.
Together, the remarks are a signal — albeit an early one — of a rare consensus on a specific policy agenda item. The Republican-controlled 115th Congress has only sent a small handful of noncontroversial drug pricing measures to President Trump for a signature.
Trump echoed her sentiment on Wednesday.
“I also believe that Nancy Pelosi and I can work together and get a lot of things done, along with Mitch,” Trump said.
It remains to be seen if the statements will lead to substantive policy or are nothing more than political bluster. Bipartisan drug pricing measures, like a bill to make it easier for generics companies to develop drugs, have floundered in Congress. And Trump previously met with Democrat lawmakers on the topic, but those discussions never produced any meaningful policy changes, either.