|Recent Senate Votes|
|FDA User Fee Reauthorization – Vote Passed (96-1, 3 Not Voting)
After extensive wrangling between the parties about which amendments would be allowed a floor vote, the Senate last week passed a bill to reauthorize Food and Drug Administration user fees for five years. The FDA relies on the fees, levied primarily on the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, to fund reviews of those same industries products. Two new user fee programs, for generic and generic biologic drugs, would be created under the bill. The bill would also permanently reauthorize programs to encourage the development of drugs for pediatric patients. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., was the lone no vote. He felt the bill did not do enough to lower the cost of prescription drugs (An amendment introduced by John McCain, R-Ariz., to allow importation of prescription drugs from Canada, failed 43-54, Senate Roll Call #108). The House will debate its version of the reauthorization this week. President Obama has endorsed the Senate bill. The current authorization expires September 30, and leaders of both parties have prioritized getting this item to the president well ahead of time.
Student Loan Interest Rates Republican Substitute – Vote Rejected (34-62, 1 Present, 3 Not Voting)
Part of the deal for bringing the FDA user fee bill to the floor was allowing a vote on the GOP version of legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling. Republicans offered a substitute amendment to a bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid had brought to the floor earlier this month. Closely mirroring bills already passed in the House and introduced previously by the Senate GOP (H.R.4628, S.2366), the substitute would pay for maintaining current interest rates by eliminating a preventive health fund created by the 2010 health care overhaul. An agreement between Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell required 60 votes for passage.
Student Loan Interest Rates Democratic Version – Vote Rejected (51-43, 1 Present, 5 Not Voting)
Immediately after rejecting the Republican substitute, the Senate moved on to rejecting the Democrats version. The Democrats would pay for their bill by eliminating a tax preference for certain shareholders of S Corporations. This is the second time S.2343 was voted on but the first time the bill itself was considered; on May 8 the Republicans successfully filibustered a motion to proceed (Senate Roll Call Number 89). With the House having passed its version, it is up to the Senate to pass a bill that could at least be the basis of some sort of compromise. Rates are set to go up on July 1.
May 30, 2012
Bennet and Udall Watch 5-28-12: Recent Votes
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