Byron Dorgan’s amendment to allow for drug reimportation failed this evening.
The roll call certainly made for some strange bedfellows, though it does seem that some Yeas were illegitimate.
The defenders of the PhRMA deal were forced to round up so many Democratic votes because the GOP decided to make mischief on the Senate floor. Eighteen Republicans — nearly half their total — broke with their traditional opposition to reimportation and voted with Dorgan, many of them smiling as they watched nervous Democratic leaders huddled around the table in front of the Senate president’s desk. When it was clear it would fail, two of them -= Sens. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) =- switched their votes back to no. Ensign was rewarded for his flip-flop by a sharp Senate-floor tongue-lashing from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a longtime and serious supporter of reimportation.
Sens. Kerry and Kirk voted against the amendment. Of course, we cannot know how Sen. Kennedy would have voted, but he did co-sponsor a bill in 2004 allowing for drug reimportation.
One of the most unfortunate things about this amendment was the bald-face lies that the White House told about the safety issues concerning the drugs.
Is the PhRMA deal a good thing? Do we need it?