The nearly uniform Republican opposition in the Senate on Sunday removed a proposed cap on insulin prices in private insurance from the Democrats’ party line on climate, health and the tax bill.
Democrats had sought to overturn a ruling by the Senate rules chief, the congressman, that a $35-a-month limit on insulin costs under private insurance was inconsistent with the budget reconciliation process. , which allowed Democrats to pass their bill by a simple majority. .
The cap, which was proposed by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., needed 60 votes to pass and remain in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). He ultimately failed by a vote of 57-43.
Republicans Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska voted for the measure with Democrats. The 43 “no” votes came from Republicans.
The removal of the cap was quickly seized upon by Democrats and sparked controversy beyond them, with GOP critics citing the sometimes startling cost of insulin needed by diabetics.
Republicans, in turn, accused Democrats of misleading a vote that they said was a technicality rather than a policy difference.
“Liar Democrats and their corporate media cronies are doing it again, twisting a Democratic ‘gotcha’ vote. In reality, the Democrats wanted to break Senate rules to pass the insulin price cap instead of going through the ‘regular order,’ Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson said. tweeted afterwards, noting that he had previously “voted for an amendment, which Democrats blocked, to provide cost-effective insulin to low-income Americans.”
While the proposed cap was not expected to get the 10 Republicans needed for the measure to be preserved as part of the Democrats’ sprawling reconciliation deal – the 60-vote threshold would have overcome the congressman’s objections to the use of reconciliation by 51 votes – the process allowed the party to put GOP senators on the record on popular policy.
Republicans used a similar tactic in voting on Biden’s immigration policy as part of possible IRA amendments.
The parliamentarian had said the insulin cap would violate the Byrd Rule, which requires a measure to have an effect on the federal budget that is not “merely incidental” in order to qualify to go through reconciliation.
The congressman, meanwhile, allowed Warnock’s $35 insulin cap to apply to people with Medicare coverage.