Saturday, January 14, 2017

Heinrich Sides With Big Pharma And Against Poor Americans

In a late night US senate vote this week New Mexico's Martin Heinrich joined with 40 Republicans and 12 other conservative "blue dog" Democrats to shoot down an amendment that would have allowed US citizens to buy much cheaper Canadian prescription medicine.

The amendment was sponsored by Minnesota's Amy Kloubacher and Bernie Sanders.

The vote was 46 for and 52 against with two not voting. Twelve Republicans actually voted for the amendment, which means it would have passed easily if not for the 13 Democrats who sided with "big pharma" over Americans who can't afford to buy their medicines.

So why vote no?

Leftists are making much of the fact that New Jersey senator Corey Booker voted against the amendment. The neoliberal, corporate friendly Booker is being promoted by establishment media as the Democratic Party rising star and 2020 opponent of Donald Trump. The Left is pointing out that Booker receives more money from big pharma than any other Democrat and more than all but two very high ranking Republicans.

In fairness to Heinrich I've looked around the media and his official and social media web sites and find nothing from him explaining his vote, so here are a few possibilities.

1. The money. Big pharma is is about number ten on the list of groups and industries that give money to Heinrich, according to my reading of his donation statistics at Open Secrets. If you go there you have to click on several tabs to isolate those figures.

2. Part of a deal? Heinrich is continually promoting the fact that he's "bipartisan" by sponsoring this or that "bipartisan" bill. (Google "Martin Heinrich bipartisan" and see how many different examples of this come up.) Perhaps he traded the big pharma vote for a vote for one of his "bipartisan" bills. About "bipartisanship." Republicans never say they are bipartisan or are working toward it or are sponsoring bipartisan bills. Only conservative Democrats like Heinrich and New Mexico's Michelle Grisham, my rep to congress, portray themselves as bipartisan, presumably to signal to big business that although they run as Democrats, big business has nothing to fear from them. That although to get elected they must occasionally give lip service to representing the working class and might have to come out for gay marriage and abortion because of the coalition of upper middle class voters the Democratic Party now  represents, where it matters they are behind the ruling class one hundred percent, as a quick look at their voting record demonstrates.

3. Booker first defended his vote by saying he doesn't want medicine being sold here that hasn't been tested by the US government, as if Canada doesn't do that, and as if it's not the exact same medicine being sold in both places. When no one bought that he switched to saying he voted against the amendment because it didn't go far enough. So one of these is unbelievable, and no living New Mexico Democrat has ever, to my knowledge, said "it didn't go far enough." Take your pick, Marty.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, some Republicans -- apparently including Rand Paul and Ted Cruz -- actually voted for this relatively progressive bill that Booker, Heinrich, and other supposedly progressive Democrats opposed. Maybe in Cruz's case it was because he's a Canadian and knows that Canada doesn't sell untested drugs. Don't know.