House Passes H.R. 4

This afternoon, the House passed H.R. 4, the bill that would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower Medicare Part D drug prices by a vote of 255 – 170 (with 10 absentees). In a press conference today, the President’s press secretary Tony Snow said:

First, there is a Medicare prescription drug bill that’s making its way through the House, H.R. 4. Both the Congressional Budget Office and the Department of Health and Human Services — their actuaries say the bill is going to have little or no effect on federal spending and provide no substantial savings to the government or Medicare beneficiaries. We have a Medicare prescription drug reform that has been saving people significant amounts of money, it is effective. If this bill is presented to the President, he will veto it.

Of course, the bill still must pass the Senate, but the Constitution (Art I, § 7) requires a 2/3s vote of the House (290 House votes) and Senate (67 Senate votes) to override a Presidential veto.