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Senate Democrats say Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough approved key elements of their social spending and taxation bill just hours ahead of a key vote to start debate on the measure.
The parliamentarian also said one element of the legislation, a Medicare inflation rebate, does not conform with Senate rules, according to Democrats. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., indicated that won’t stop Democrats from pushing ahead with votes this weekend.
“Democrats have received extremely good news: For the first time, Medicare will finally be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices, seniors will have free vaccines and their costs capped and much more. This is a major victory for the American people,” Schumer said Saturday.
“While there was one unfortunate ruling in that the inflation rebate is more limited in scope, the overall program remains intact, and we are one step closer to finally taking on Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., also weighed in.
“Senate Democrats wrote our reconciliation language to comply with Senate rules, and the parliamentarian has largely agreed, especially on groundbreaking Medicare negotiation and cost protections for seniors,” “Wyden said.
“I am disappointed that the calculation for the Medicare inflation rebate that included commercial units sold was ruled out of compliance, but the legislation nevertheless puts a substantial check on Big Pharma’s ability to price gouge. I look forward to moving ahead on this critical legislation to lower drug prices for seniors and taxpayers.”
Wyden claimed one other win on clean energy taxes. His staff said in the early hours of Saturday morning that MacDonough approved that part of the bill.
“Late-night update: Great news. We’re moving forward on the clean energy tax package with no Byrd Rule changes,” Senate Finance Committee Communications Director Ashley Schapitl said in a late-night tweet.