Democrats weigh changes to drug pricing bill to win over moderates

Democratic leaders are discussing changes to a signature bill to lower prescription drug prices in a bid to win over a handful of moderate Democrats needed for passage.

House and Senate leaders have discussed a proposal that would remove one of the provisions moderates find most objectionable in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) bill, a cap on prices based on what other wealthy countries pay for drugs, and have pitched the proposal to moderates, sources say.

But some moderates who voted against the drug pricing measure last month in a House committee are still not signing on, illustrating the difficult path forward for a key piece of Democrats’ agenda that is intended to help pay for President Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better package.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), one of the three House lawmakers who voted no last month, said he spoke with White House staff and Speaker’s office staff on a call last week about ways to bridge their differences on drug pricing, but that there has not yet been a resolution.

“I think it’s great that they’re talking to me, but I also don’t want to overstate, I don’t want to suggest that they proposed something yet that I think will work or will pass,” Peters told The Hill.

“I didn’t expect it to come to a resolution in one meeting, and so we’ll continue those conversations,” he added.