Last night, as Republicans came one step closer to their goal of repealing Obamacare, 13 Democrats in the senate voted against a measure that would have lowered the cost of prescription drugs for Americans by importing cheaper medicine from Canada. The group included Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who became the first sitting member of congress to testify against an attorney general nominee when he spoke out against Senator Jeff Sessions yesterday.
The amendment's statement of purpose was "to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to lower prescription drug prices for Americans by importing drugs from Canada." It was drafted by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders. Polls have shown that controlling drugs costs are massively popular, which could be why 12 Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz, voted in favor of the amendment.
According to Maplight, a website that tracks political donations, every single Democratic senator who voted "nay" on the amendment has at some time received a significant donation from "pharmaceutical manufacturing" interests. Among all senators, Cory Booker has received the third highest amount of donations from pharma interests: $267,338.
Booker is rumored to be considering a presidential bid in 2020 — his testimony against Sessions yesterday was derided by Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas as "a platform for his presidential aspirations.” However, his political career is marked with troublesome instances: as compiled by Jezebel, Booker oversaw corruption scandals and rising crime rates during his tenure as Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and ran his 2014 midterm campaign with more donations from Wall Street than any other senator, except for Mitch McConnell.
Thumbnail photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.