The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is pushing senators to reject a reconciliation package that would lower drug prices and raise taxes on high earners and renew their focus on the bipartisan bill to boost U.S. competitiveness with China.
“There is absolutely no reason to delay or derail legislation that has earned bipartisan support and would support American manufacturing workers for decades to come. The longer we wait, the further behind we fall,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons wrote in a letter to congressional leaders and President Biden Monday.
The letter comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened to block the United States Innovation and Competition Act, which would shell out $52 billion to U.S. companies to bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing among other measures to counter China, if Democrats pursue a party-line reconciliation package.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pursuing a budget reconciliation bill — which could pass with a simple-majority vote — that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and raise taxes on wealthy individuals and high earners using pass-through businesses.
NAM has long lobbied against measures to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which would put a dent in drugmakers’ profits. The manufacturers’ group is also running ads in the nation’s capital urging lawmakers not to hike taxes.
“In short, tax increases and other proposals for the reconciliation bill, like restrictions on our pharmaceutical industry that would stifle lifesaving innovation, are simply the wrong approach at the wrong time,” Timmons wrote.
Politico first reported the news of the letter.
The letter indicates that business interests are concerned about the future of the China competitiveness bill. Schumer seems intent on moving forward with a reconciliation package despite McConnell’s threat to block the China bill, and even if the GOP leader doesn’t follow through on his promise, senators could run out of time to pass it before the August recess.