This afternoon the House passed H.R. 4, a bill requiring the government to negotiate for lower Medicare drug prices. One of the bill's Co-sponsors was Connecticut's own Rep. Chris Murphy. Earlier today Murphy spoke with reporters (and bloggers) via a conference call about the importance of HR4's passage.
The Bill before us today, H.R.4, which I'm co-sponsor of and I'll be one of the first people to speak on the house floor on, will give the power, in fact will mandate that the federal government through the Secretary of Health and Human Services negotiate lower prices with the drug industry.
Today's vote is an important first step forward and I'm going to be incredibly proud to stand on the house floor this morning and speak on it's behalf, and then to vote for it later this afternoon.
Next the bill heads to the Senate, and if it passes it heads to the President's desk where it faces a possible veto. While emphasizing the bill's bi-partisan support Murphy did talk about the possibility.
I think there will be bi-partisan support for it, in fact one of the primary co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate is a Republican Senator from Maine. I think you'll see Republicans supporting this bill today and though I don't know whether there will be enough votes to override a potential presidential veto, I think there will be certainly a willingness to take that up... If the President wants to veto this I think it's a signal that he's still captivated by the same special interests that we have broken free from.
The Congressman spoke with pride about what the 110th Congress has achieved so far, and well as what he expects to pass next.
I think this has been just a monumental first week and a half for this Congress. Not only have we passed landmark ethics reform legislation but we've already moved forward on stem cell research, on securing the nation through implementing the 9/11 recommendations, and then today on Medicare prescription drug reform. And we're not done yet. Next week we'll pass legislation cutting the interest rates for student loans which will help families and students throughout the country. We'll also pass legislation that will start to build an energy policy based on renewable and alternative energy by removing some of the massive royalties that we've allowed to go to oil companies and turning that around into renewable energy sources.
On an unrelated, but interesting note, Murphy expressed support for Chris Dodd's recently announced Presidential run.
I'm enthusiastically supporting Chris Dodd for president. I think in very trying times like this we'd be lucky to have someone with the domestic and foreign policy experience that Chris Dodd has, sitting in the White House. I think he has a very realistic shot, and anyone who has ever listened to Chris Dodd out on the stump or listened to him expound on important issues of the day know that he is a very powerful communicator. And that's what the Democratic party needs right now and I think that's what the country needs right now.
For those who are interested in reading the bill in it's entirety Spazeboy has it up on his blog. Thanks also go to Spazeboy for reminding me about the conference call this morning.