Democrats are preparing for a fight that includes capping the price of insulin in the climate and healthcare bills as they gear up for a long night of voting on Saturday.
They included a provision to limit the price of insulin in their legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin negotiated together. The legislation would cap the costs of out-of-pocket insulin to $35.
But Senator Elizabeth McDonough directed against a provision that would cause drug companies to discount Medicare if they raise the price of drugs above inflation.
Democrats hope to pass the bill through a process called budget compromise, which would allow them to pass it by a simple majority. If the bill passes through that process, it would allow them to avoid Republican obstruction, since Democrats have only 50 seats in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaker.
The senator must determine whether aspects of the legislation are closely related to the budget or whether it is an “external matter.” If you rule that a piece of legislation is not budget-related, Democrats will have a vote on the amendment during a “vote in the rama,” in which a series of amendments to the bill are voted on.
The presiding officer can ignore the deputy and decide that he is complying with the budget settlement rules, but that would require 60 votes for the amendment to pass that way, since Cool Roll mentioned.
Georgian Senator Raphael Warnock, who will be re-elected this year, has made fixing the cost of insulin a premium issue in his campaign against Republican Herschel Walker.
“The parliamentarian is not the issue here,” he told reporters on Saturday. “The Senate, no matter how it is governed. Let’s be really clear. If it doesn’t happen tonight, it is because the people put politics before the people they were sent here to represent.”
Warnock said every Democrat was on board and noted that his insulin legislation was bipartisan. He also added that people have already banned this legislation.
“Why did they do that? What does that mean to the people themselves,” he said.
Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin said there wasn’t any kind of debate in the hall vote and added that Republicans didn’t discuss insulin either.
“So there are no rumours. But I hope I mean, there was obviously a lot of bipartisan work on the procedure that Susan Collins was leading the way,” she told reporters.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island wasn’t too self-confident: “I’d say yes, but there’s just enough mischief here that it’s hard to be absolutely sure.”