House Republicans Tell Big Pharma to Stiff-Arm Congress
Democrat Elijah Cummings chairs the House Oversight Committee, a tough job made tougher by White House stonewalling and by Republicans on the committee trying to torpedo an investigation into prescription drug pricing. Ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio and his GOP sidekick Mark Meadows sent letters earlier this month to the CEOs of 12 pharmaceutical companies advising them not to cooperate with Cummings’ requests for information, alleging that the chairman would leak the information and tank stock prices.
Jordan and Meadows are the Thelma and Louise of the GOP, driving the party over the cliff. They’ve tried to protect Donald Trump from his former fixer Michael Cohen’s damaging testimony, calling Cohen a liar and echoing White House calls to investigate Hillary Clinton and the origins of the Russia probe. But shielding Big Pharma is another matter. It does not play well with voters, even some Republican ones—something Trump understands, at least rhetorically. He said in his first press conference as president-elect that the drug companies “are getting away with murder,” a charge he periodically repeats to bolster his populist credentials.
He even followed up with a proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies, which it currently cannot do, thanks to the enormous sums of money spent by the drug lobby to protect their profits.