It’s been a productive year for our U.S. House of Representatives.
The Democrat-controlled house passed legislation to raise wages, protect and expand health coverage, bring down prescription drug prices, have better retirement options and gun safety, most with bi-partisan support.
Here’s a sampling:
Health care legislation giving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services power to negotiate drug prices for Medicare enrollees and private insurance; speeding up generic drugs to market; capping seniors’ drug costs and saving Medicare nearly $500 billion over 10 years. Surveys show 70 percent of Georgians support reducing the cost of prescription drugs.
The House secured changes to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal benefiting labor and our environment while making pharmaceutical companies unhappy with provisions regarding generic competition. And House Democrats pushed for and got Mitch McConnell with bi-partisan support, legislation that encourages 401(k) plans to offer guaranteed income payments.
Currently only licensed gun dealers conduct background checks. But now gun shows are included, and the FBI has more time to complete checks. Polls show that 95 percent of Democrats, 94 percent of independents and 89 percent of Republicans are in favor of background checks.
Funding for research on gun violence, which kills nearly 40,000 Americans each year, if approved by the Senate and signed by the president, will allow federal research on gun safety to go forward for the first time since 1996 when Republicans passed, at the request of the NRA, an amendment barring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using federal money to conduct gun studies. The CDC in Atlanta will share in the $25 million for research on gun safety, a plus for our Georgia economy.
For American citizens to benefit from the House’s work, the Senate must act. Will the Republican-controlled Senate stand with working people or continue to side with drug companies and lobbyists?