Senate Democrats say they plan to challenge a ruling by the parliamentarian striking a proposal sponsored by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) to cap insulin prices from the Inflation Reduction Act, according to a Democrat familiar with the plan.
As of now, Warnock’s proposal to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 a month is in the bill, but the parliamentarian is expected to rule on the Senate floor that it does not comply with the Byrd rule, which prohibits policymaking in a budget reconciliation bills that have a tangential impact on spending and revenue.
But Democrats plan to challenge the parliamentarian’s ruling on the floor, which means they would need 60 votes to waive an objection to keeping the insulin provision in the bill.
Any effort to overturn the parliamentarian is not likely to get 10 Republican votes, but it will put Republicans on the record as opposing a $35 monthly cap on patients’ insulin costs, which Democrats can use as political ammo in the midterm elections.
“I think it’s hard for elected officials to go home, as everybody’s headed now, and try to explain, if they choose to vote that way, why they’re not supporting getting relief to millions of Americans who are getting crushed by these insulin bills ,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said ahead of the floor showdown.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) said it was “unfortunate” that Democrats were turning the issue into a political football.
Collins has sponsored a bipartisan bill with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) to lower insulin costs.
Their bill would encourage insulin manufacturers to reduce their list prices and limit out-of-pocket costs for patients with diabetes by ensuring that group and individual market health plans waive deductibles and cost-sharing to no more than $35 a month, according to a summary provided by their offices.
“I think it’s unfortunate that it was included” in the reconciliation package, Collins said of the insulin proposal that is expected to be defeated on the floor Saturday.
Mychael Schnell contributed.