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Biden delivers push for Congress to lower drug prices

Joe Biden
Posted at 10:06 AM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 13:54:45-04

President Joe Biden on Thursday called upon Congress to take up action to lower prescription drug prices during televised remarks from the White House.

But before he began, he kicked off the presser with anger in his voice as he says having children wear masks is about protecting kids, not politics.

"This isn't about politics, it's about keeping our children safe."

He lauded the medical community and said he stood with people who are standing up to the governors who oppose mask mandates.

“Thank you. Thank God we have heroes like you. I stand with you all and America should as well," Biden said.

Biden then got to the theme of his scheduled remarks, after more than two hours behind schedule.

President Biden was calling on Congress to take up legislation that would change Medicare policies and allow the agency to negotiate the best price for prescription drugs. He's also asking Congress to establish a cap on the amount that Medicare beneficiaries pay out-of-pocket for drugs.

The president said Americans are currently paying two to three times more than prescription drugs than people in other countries.

President Biden added that for years, prices of prescription drugs have significantly outstripped inflation, stating that one in four Americans who take prescription drugs struggle to afford them.

"To really solve the problem, we need Congress to act," President Biden said.

Biden also proposed to spend $6.5 billion to create a similar agency to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency inside the National Institutes of Health.

"This isn't a partisan issue -- Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, they don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican," President Biden said.

Biden's remarks come a month after he signed a sweeping executive order that aimed to regulate anti-competitive behavior among large U.S.-based corporations. Among the provisions enacted was an order to support federal programs that import drugs from Canada in an effort to lower prices abroad.

Later on Friday, Biden will travel back to his home state of Delaware.

Biden was in the midst of a two-week vacation in his home state but returned to the White House earlier this week after the Senate passed his $1 trillion infrastructure plan. That bill now heads to the House, where it's expected to pass before Biden signs it into law.