By Guy Page
December 23, 2019 – Maybe it’s just the Magic of the Season.
Not once but twice this month Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and President Donald Trump have collaborated to make life better for Vermonters.
On December 11, Welch gave Trump credit for HR 3, a bill letting government renegotiate high prescription drug costs with Big Pharma. “We took an idea that President Trump proposed,” Welch said. “He asked a legitimate question — ‘Why does America pay the highest prices of any country in the world? Why are we the suckers?’ That’s the way he put it.”
Welch described on the floor of the House Dec 11 what Trump said when he and Rep. Elijah Cummings spoke with the president: “In April of 2017, Elijah and I went to the White House and met with President Trump, who said all the right things: ‘’Why are we getting ripped off by Pharma?’’ ‘Why can’t we import safe medications?’ ‘Why can’t we lower costs?’’’
Welch then said on the floor, “Today, President Trump, we are going to do it….we are adopting an idea that President Trump had: ‘’Put a cap, 120 percent.’’ We will not pay more than that, what other countries pay for the same medication. President Trump put it in his blunt way: ‘We are being suckers.’’’
Sounds like Trump. He’s all about renegotiating bad trade deals. He’s promised to reduce health care costs without Obamacare by reducing the cost of prescription drugs. And unlike many of his fellow Republicans, he’s not beholden to Big Pharma campaign contributions. If the bill stalls in the Senate, it won’t be because Trump is carrying water for the drug industry.
And just last week, President Trump signed a budget bill that included funding for Brand USA, a program spearheaded by Welch that has brought an estimated million international tourists, with economic impact of almost $9 billion. The program is paid for by the international visitors themselves – a feature undoubtably appealing to a president who wants foreign nations to pay more in general, and who once said of the southern border wall that the U.S. would build it and Mexico would pay for it.
Their relationship is still more impeachment than ‘Peaceable Kingdom.’ Still – there they are, lying down together, the Lion of Mar-a-Largo and the Lamb of the Vermont Legislature. Who says there are no Christmas miracles?