During Wednesday's late-night Obamacare "voto-rama," Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment that would have supported importing cheaper drugs from Canada to help lower the cost of prescription drugs in the United States.
The amendment predictably went down in defeat -- but not in the way many expected.
In fact, a total of 12 Republicans, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) voted in favor of the amendment. These Republicans were cancelled out, however, by 13 Democrats who joined with the majority of Republicans to kill the amendment.
Via The Intercept's Lee Fang, the following Democrats voted against Sanders' proposal to "establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to lower prescription drug prices for Americans by importing drugs from Canada":
- Michael Bennett (D-CO)
- Corey Booker (D-NJ)
- Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
- Tom Carper (D-DE)
- Bob Casey (D-PA)
- Chris Coons (D-DE)
- Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
- Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
- Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
- Bob Menedez (D-NJ)
- Patty Murray (D-WA)
- Jon Tester (D-MT)
- Mark Warner (D-VA)
Interestingly, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted in favor of the drug importation amendment, despite the fact that his daughter, Heather Bresch, is the CEO of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the controversial drug company that has came under fire for raising the price of EpiPens by 450 percent over the past 12 years.
UPDATE: Booker has sent a statement to Jezebel explaining his rationale for voting against the amendment, which he said was flawed because it lacked proper safety measures for imported drugs:
I support the importation of prescription drugs as a key part of a strategy to help control the skyrocketing cost of medications. Any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test. The rising cost of medications is a life-and-death issue for millions of Americans, which is why I also voted for amendments last night that bring drug prices down and protect Medicare’s prescription drug benefit. I’m committed to finding solutions that allow for prescription drug importation with adequate safety standards.
Similarly, Sen. Casey's office sent the following statement to the publication, which also cited lack of safety standards as his reason for opposing the amendment:
Saw your story and just wanted to follow up to clarify some of the record. Senator Casey’s record is clear: he is a supporter of importation of drugs from Canada since 2007. Last night, Senator Casey supported an amendment by Senator Wyden that would have allowed the importation of drugs from Canada. On a separate amendment, Senator Casey had some concerns about drug safety provisions that couldn’t be resolved in the 10 minutes between the votes. Senator Casey will continue to fight for the safe importation of drugs from Canada.