WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) pressed Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) during today’s colloquy on Speaker Pelosi’s outrageous decision to the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s unanimously bipartisan drug pricing bills in favor of a secretive and starkly partisan drug pricing bill that has little chance of landing on the President’s desk. Whip Scalise also admonished Democrats for avoiding the socialist label, while embracing openly socialist policies.

See highlights from the colloquy below.
On why a partisan approach to drug pricing is unnecessary and irresponsible:

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“There is a way to lower drug prices. Again, there was a package of bills passed out of the Energy & Commerce Committee. Every single member, Republican and Democrat, voted for it. That’s the path right there to get something done and you shelved the bills. You threw poison pills in the bills so they won’t become law. Why not work with people who have the expertise and came to an agreement? That bill could be signed by the President today.

“People could be paying lower prices for drugs today, but you won’t bring that bill to the floor. Why not bring that package of bills to the floor? If you want to come up with other ideas to lower drug prices in other ways, great, let’s work on that, too. But at a minimum bring the bills that already came out of committee unanimously, that absolutely everybody agrees, Republican and Democrat, will lower drug prices. And you refuse to bring that bill to the floor, that package. Why not do that?

“Would the gentleman consider bringing that package of bills that was unanimous out of committee to lower drug prices? Every Republican and every Democratic agreed on the committee of jurisdiction, these things will lower drug prices and we can’t get a vote on that.”

On the President’s stated desire for a bipartisan drug pricing solution:

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“The President’s been very clear that he wants a bipartisan bill that’s worked out here in Congress to lower drug prices. There have been many efforts made and, in fact, positive steps taken by the Energy & Commerce Committee to pass a package of bills out of committee unanimously to lower drug prices. Unfortunately the Speaker took a different turn, and yesterday had a press conference and ultimately filed a bill last night, H.R. 3, which was written in secret, many Democrats don’t even know what’s in it, but no Republicans were consulted and were involved in the process and it ended up becoming a very partisan bill, much to the socialist left, which wouldn’t solve the problem, but, more importantly, wouldn’t get to the President’s desk.

“Because it’s not an effort that involved any bipartisan cooperation and, again, I point out there was a bill, a package of bills that passed unanimously out of Energy & Commerce that would lower drug prices. Both parties agreed, every single member on the Energy & Commerce Committee agreed. Unfortunately that was shelved in lieu of this partisan approach.

“I would hope that we take it more seriously than that and actually work together to get a bill that the President can sign to lower drug prices as quickly as possible. The approach that was taken yesterday does not answer that call and I would hope we do better.”

On Democrats’ embrace of socialist policies, but avoidance of the socialist label: 

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“You’re trying to hide from the term socialism when you promote socialist policies. We can have a debate about what socialism is — it’s an ideology. It’s not a word that’s thrown around. And it involves government control of your life. And so when you move bills like the Green New Deal, when you see a presidential candidate on your side running around saying he’s going to go to people’s houses and take their guns, that’s a candidate for President of the United States on your side, those are socialist policies.

“If you don’t want the term applied, then don’t promote that ideology, don’t embrace that ideology. Reject the ideology. But you won’t. You want to try to play it both ways. You want to try to act like you’re going to impeach the President but say you’re not going to impeach the President. You want to promote the Green New Deal, but you don’t want to bring it to the floor so your members have to be exposed to the vote.

“But ultimately as long as you’re going to embrace and allow socialist ideas to come forward, people are going to call it for what it is. And if you don’t agree with socialism, then just stop embracing the ideology.”