For Immediate Release: 
December 11, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06), and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) for a press event with health care advocates today to discuss H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The House will begin Floor debate of the bill this afternoon. Below is a link to the video and a transcript of his remarks:

Click here to watch the video.
“Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I’m pleased to join Jim [Riordan] and Caroline [Corum] who are going to testify as to the impact that this [bill] will have on them and their needs.

“As had been said, later today, we will start debate on H.R. 3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. Elijah Cummings was one of my closest friends with whom I served for a number of decades in Maryland and here in Washington, DC.

“This legislation is transformative. As the Speaker pointed out, it meets the promise we made to the American people when they elected us to a Majority in the House of Representatives; when we said for the people, we were going to bring prescription drug costs down and make it easier for Americans to afford their medications.

“No one should have to choose between medications they need and paying their rent or putting food on the table. All of those they need to have healthy lives. This is an issue that has had broad, bipartisan support, and there is no reason Republicans ought to oppose this bill.

“The Speaker made a couple of quotes, but they bear repeating. This is not an issue at which the President and the Congress have been in disagreement. In 2016, [the] President said, as was quoted: ‘when it comes time to negotiate the cost of drugs, we are going to negotiate like crazy.’ And what did he mean? He meant that as a businessman, if you’re buying a product, you negotiate on the cost of that product. And that’s what this bill says – exactly what the President said we were going to do.

‘Then, in 2018, he complained that: ‘one common cancer drug’ this is what, again, what the Speaker referred to, ‘is nearly seven times as expensive for Medicare as it is for other countries… This happens because the government pays whatever price the drug companies set without any negotiation whatsoever.’ And he said that was absurd.

“So, what we are offering to the President, to our Republican colleagues… [in] the House and the Senate, is legislation which says no, we will do it.

“And as recently as this October, just a couple months ago, he said: ‘we want to bring our prices down to what other countries are paying,’ which is what the bill provides for, ‘or at least close, and let the other countries pay more.  Because they’re getting such low prices that we’re actually subsidizing other countries, and that’s just not going to happen anymore.’

“And. That’s. Just. Not. Going. To. Happen. Anymore. That’s what the bill does, exactly what the bill does. That’s. Not. Going. To. Happen. Anymore.

“Mr. President, I urge you to come together as we have provided you a bill [that is] consistent with what you said your policies were going to be. I would hope that the President would sign this bill, that our Republican colleagues in the Senate would pass it quickly, and give relief to the American public that they deserve and want.

“The House will pass this bill to lower prescription drug prices and reinvest the considerable savings into innovative research, combating the opioid crisis, expanding Medicare [benefits], and other priorities. I urge the Senate to act quickly on this bill.

“And I now have the pleasure of yielding to the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, who has worked so hard, so diligently, and so effectively with his Members, and with Mr. Scott, Mr. Neal, and others in the Congress of the United States, to bring this legislation to the Floor. Congressman Mr. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.”