On Wednesday, Senator Corey Booker made his first public leap toward the 2020 election, and already he is playing the part of the perfect establishment politician by talking out of both sides of his mouth.
On the same day that Booker made history by admirably testifying against fellow Senator Jeff Sessions in his Senate confirmation hearing, ruffling feathers and winning the favor of many Democrats, he also much more quietly voted to kill a bill proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders whose aim was fighting Big Pharma’s price gouging ways.
Hiding under coverage of a massive news day, Booker and twelve other Democratic senators voted against a bill which, if passed, would have lowered drug prices. What should have been a slam-dunk law has now been killed, and no one is really sure why Booker and the other Democratic senators opposed the bill.
The bill, if passed, would have allowed the U.S. to begin importing drugs from Canada, providing the prescriptions at a lower price while also driving competition against pharma companies in the U.S., lowering drug rates across the board. This, along with Senator Sanders’ goal of allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower medical prices on drugs and other medical necessities is part of Sanders’ two-pronged plan of attack against the exorbitant drug prices in America.
“THE AMENDMENT, WHICH WAS PROPOSED BY SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) AND SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, WOULD HAVE ALLOWED THE IMPORTATION OF DRUGS FROM CANADA. TRUMP HAS TAKEN A MORE DEMOCRAT-FRIENDLY TONE ON DRUG PRICES—AT ONE POINT DURING YESTERDAY’S MANIACAL PRESS CONFERENCE HE ACCUSED PHARMA COMPANIES OF “GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER,” WHICH SENT STOCKS TUMBLING—AND 12 REPUBLICAN SENATORS, INCLUDING JOHN MCCAIN, TED CRUZ AND RAND PAUL, ENDED UP VOTING IN FAVOR OF THE BILL.”
So while the less observant among us have placed Booker in prime 2020 consideration, those of us who value the real legislative work of progressivism have already spotted his establishment ways.
Those who are paying attention also might notice that Booker comes from the state which produces the most pharmaceuticals in the nation, and that unsurprisingly, Booker himself gets quite a kick-back from the pharmaceutical industry. In fact the only two sitting senators to have bigger campaign contributions from big pharma are long-time Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.
Simply, Booker is hoping to serve his corporate big pharma bosses while still remaining in the Democrats’ good graces. If progressives have as long of a memory as they have before, Booker won’t get away with this and still claim his spot atop the Democratic party in four short years.
I guess he really is a lot like President Obama after all.