Congress

The standoff is threatening the entire health plank of the party’s mammoth social spending proposal.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) put forward a narrower set of pricing policies in the Democrats’ social spending plan. | (Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo)

By ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN, HEATHER CAYGLE and SARAH FERRIS

09/14/2021 04:06 PM EDT

Updated: 09/14/2021 04:59 PM EDT

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An intraparty fight over drug price controls is threatening to derail Democrats’ dreams of sweeping changes to Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act as part of their mammoth social spending package.

House Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and his senior aides are racing to shore up support for leadership-backed language that would allow direct government negotiations over the prices of hundreds of drugs, penalize manufacturers that raise prices faster than inflation and apply both policies to private insurance plans as well as Medicare.

Efforts to wrap the language into the House Democrats’ party-line social spending bill ran into opposition Tuesday from a cadre of moderates led by Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), who put forward a narrower set of pricing policies and threatened to withhold their support unless they’re adopted. The centrist group, which also includes Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), would only allow negotiation for a small subset of drugs in Medicare Part B that have no competition.

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