Congress Off to a Slow Start

Congress Off to a Slow Start

Congress is off to a slower start this year, even as critical issues that soon must be dealt with remain unsettled. This seems to be especially true in the House of Representatives, which in the past usually got its work done faster than the Senate.

One of the ways the slowness is evident is that many of the House committees’ websites remain almost unchanged since the end of 2022.  Hopefully, those sites will be updated soon.

The slower start this year is probably due, at least in part, to the fact that the Republicans have taken control of the body and this sort of transition takes time.

Over in the Senate there could soon be a vote on a bipartisan drug patent measure, a move that could test the pharmaceutical industry’s influence in Congress.

Senate Democratic leaders want to hold a vote on a bill that would end two kinds of abuses of the drug patent process that many Senators say the big drug companies use to increase their profits at the expense of the public.

The claim is that the drug companies misuse two processes that enable them to keep their patents on drugs they’ve developed and prevent much lower-cost generic drugs from being put on the market.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), one of the sponsors of the bill, has pushed for years to ban patent abuses. Cornyn has said the drug industry has long opposed reforms to the patent system and worked to block similar bills in the past.

The big drug companies oppose the bill, saying that its provisions could severely damage the drug innovation system, an argument they seem to use every time legislation to deal with their alleged abuses is dealt with in Congress.