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WASHINGTON — A key Senate committee on Thursday advanced a sweeping bill to lower drug prices after its members voted — narrowly — to retain its most controversial element: a cap on some drug price increases under Medicare.

The broader package passed by a 19-9 margin and earned unanimous support from Democrats. GOP lawmakers opposed the legislation by a 9-5 margin.


Just before the final vote on the package, a top Republican had attempted to strip the bill of its most contentious element: a cap on drug price increases that exceed the rate of inflation in the Medicare program.

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