My column today discusses how hard the drug lobby is working to re-elect Harry Reid. I had attributed the industry’s love Reid simply to how Pharma-friendly the bill was. At Firedoglake, though, Jane Hamsher gives some more details:
How did Reid personally step up? Well, most notably he helpfully kept Byron Dorgan’s drug reimportation amendment off the floor for 7 days, despite the fact that Dorgan had the 60 votes he needed for cloture. Senate Democrats effectively had to filibuster their own health care bill for a week to do so, something they could not have done without Reid’s coordination. During that time, the White House got HHS to write a letter behind Dorgan’s back saying that reimported drugs were unsafe. Many members in the Senate wanted cover for voting against the amendment, which the letter provided. Kay Hagan, Frank Lautenberg and others took to the floor and read from the letter in order to help kill the amendment. Minority Whip Dick Durbin actively whipped Joe Lieberman’s vote against it. By the time Reid allowed the Dorgan amendment on to the floor, PhRMA had successfully peeled off the votes to kill it.