The Fight Over Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Pet Project’
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MEDICINE MAN: Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) has emerged as one of the more vocal critics of a prescription pricing bill that sources have described as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “pet project” and “baby.” Auchincloss sat down with The Uprising last week to talk about his issues with the bill and his own proposal to lower drug prices. While the critics of the legislation backed by Pelosi have been described as moderates, Auchincloss rejects that label and claims his proposal is actually more progressive than the speaker’s.
“I am a liberal Democrat who is … pushing for the most progressive drug pricing portfolio of ideas that is on the table right now,” he said.
But he also believes his proposal is more likely to earn support from Republicans, which is likely necessary for drug pricing reform to pass.
But bipartisan compromise has become more complex in the wake of the January 6 attack when supporters of former President Trump stormed the Capitol as President Biden’s election victory was certified. Auchincloss and other Democrats have refused to lead legislation with Republicans who declined to certify Biden’s win. That divide has already torpedoed some bipartisan drug reform proposals. Nevertheless, Auchincloss believes there is room for a compromise on drug pricing.
“I'm not willing to co-lead legislation with Republicans who don't recognize that Joe Biden is the legitimate winner of a free and fair election. ...I can't represent my district values without adhering to that,” Auchincloss said. “But I also can't represent my district’s priorities, without working with the Republicans who do register Joe Biden as legitimate winner. And so, I do see a path there.”
“Is it hard? Yes,” he added. “But that's what we're sent to Congress to do is to find agreement with people, with whom we disagree.”
Read the full story here.
THE COMMISSION: Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that he “made a decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced for another commission to study the events of January the 6th." Those comments came on the heels of the GOP’s House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy similarly rejecting the bipartisan proposal for a commission on the attack.
"It’s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress," McConnell said.
McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment about Democrats who have argued opposition to the commission is driven by Republican concerns about their own “culpability” in the violence. In a late post-email update to yesterday’s Uprising, McCarthy’s head of communication Matt Sparks described that critique as proof the commission proposal is “unserious and political.”
The Senate minority leader’s opposition set the stage for a tough fight if the backers of the commission proposal move forward.
Family members of Howard Liebengood, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who took his own life days after the attack, released a statement of their own on Wednesday urging Congress to establish the commission.
"We believe a thorough, non-partisan investigation into the root causes of and the response to the January 6th riot is essential for our nation to move forward," the statement said. "Howie's death was an immediate outgrowth of those events. Every officer who worked that day, as well as their families, should have a better understanding of what happened."
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) also came out with a letter on Wednesday that he claimed was penned by anonymous U.S. Capitol Police officers who wanted to express their “profound disappointment” with McConnell and McCarthy.
“The brave men and women of the USCP were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish,” the letter said. “If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing. Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.”
The Capitol Police disavowed that letter with a tweet that said, “USCP does NOT take positions on legislation.”
LAW & ORDER: Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner won his Democratic primary on Tuesday evening against a rival who argued his efforts to reshape criminal prosecutions in the city were overly lenient on offenders. Luppe Luppen, the lawyer who is better known as @NYCSouthpaw, told The Uprising that Krasner’s victory is “a sign of continued vitality in the progressive criminal justice reform movement.”
Here’s that guest analysis from Southpaw, who is the author of the great newsletter Pawprints:
“Larry Krasner was one of the first and arguably the most prominent of a new group of progressive district attorney candidates. Dispensing with traditional ‘tough on crime’ posturing, Krasner campaigned on and then enacted reforms that reduced sentences and deprioritized drug offenses. I’m so doing he earned the wrath of Republicans, in particular the Trump-appointed US Attorney William McSwain, who used his office as a platform to take pot shots at Krasner’s experiment. That criticism and a rising tide of gun violence led many in the national media to believe voters would give Krasner the boot in favor of a traditionalist. But Democratic voters in Philadelphia, and even its traditionally conservative newspaper the Inquirer, saw something else and endorsed him for another term.”
FUN FACT: Longtime Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno was known as “the docile don” and because he seemed to avoid conflict more than his successors. An investigator later said that reputation for being “gentle” was “bull.”
Bruno, who was portrayed by Harvey Keitel in Martin Scorsese’s 2019 film “The Irishman,” was killed in a “gangland-style” shooting outside his home in 1980. The New York Times’ report on that crime noted Bruno “always insisted in public that he was only a wholesale cigarette salesman.”
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