EXCLUSIVE – A conservative advocacy group that backs Republican causes is expanding a major ad blitz in dozens of congressional districts controlled by House Democrats that targets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “radical plan” to lower prescription drug prices through government regulation.
The American Action Network (AAN) on Monday is announcing that it’s adding another $1 million to an existing $4 million ad campaign that it launched last week in 40 congressional districts represented by Democrats. And it’s going up with ads in another five districts, bringing to 45 the number of districts targeted.
The new spot, shared first with Fox News, highlights a national security theme, charging that the House speaker’s proposal to lower prescription drug prices could send pharmaceutical manufacturing overseas, possibly making Americans reliant on China for their medications.
“Communist China. They threaten our economy. Even our security,” the announcer highlights in the new commercial.
“So does Nancy Pelosi really want them producing our medicines. Pelosi’s radical plan will result in American drug production outsourced to foreign countries like China. Our lifesaving supply chain marching straight through Beijing. You rely on these critical drugs. Under Pelosi’s plan, you’ll be relying on China,” the announcer claims.
The announcer then urges viewers to call the House Democrat in their district and urge the lawmaker “to stop Pelosi’s socialist drug takeover plan.”
AAN, which has ties to the pharmaceutical industry, kicked off its new campaign last week with an ad that argued that the proposal by congressional Democrats, if passed into law, could mean fewer cures for life-threatening diseases and less access to breakthrough new treatments, like the COVID-19 vaccines.
House Democrats in December 2019 passed H.R. 3, which was known as the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act.”
Aiming to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices, the bill would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies. It would also make the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries. Democrats said their measure, which was opposed by Republicans and the pharmaceutical industry, would also “stop drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs.”
The bill died in the Senate, which was controlled by the GOP at the time. But Democrats campaigned on the issue during the 2020 elections.
President Biden two weeks ago urged Congress to include major elements of the bill in his massive jobs and infrastructure proposal that he’s trying to pass through the House and Senate. House Democrats are beginning the process of assembling the overall package.
“The COVID pandemic has shown us all first-hand that we must urgently reduce our dependence on China for medical supplies and lifesaving medications,” AAN President Dan Conston told Fox News in a statement.
“But instead of learning from these mistakes, Pelosi wants to force us into socialist price controls that will threaten our national security and send drug manufacturing to hostile nations like China. Liberals should abandon this reckless plan and instead choose bipartisan reforms that will reduce the cost of prescriptions without risking our health or security,” Conston argued.
AAN said the new ad would run on TV and digital in the districts of Democratic Reps. Jaren Golden (ME-02), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Chris Pappas (NH-01) and on digital in the district of Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07).
The spot that started running last week is up on TV in the districts of Democratic Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Angie Craig (MN-02), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and Kim Schrier (WA-08). The ad was running digitally in 31 other districts controlled by House Democrats.
The Democratic lawmakers targeted by the ads could face difficult reelections during next year’s midterms when the party will try to retain its razor-thin majority in the House.
Responding to the ad blitz, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesperson Chris Taylor told Fox News that “Democrats in the House are fighting every day to lower the cost of health care and make medication more affordable.”
And he charged that “big Pharma is running ads for their Republican allies in the House because they expect they’ll see a return on that investment in the form of corporate profits fueled by sky-high drug prices that hurt the American people, especially our seniors.”
Longtime Democratic strategist and DCCC veteran Jesse Ferguson tweeted, “Loser of an issue for GOP to be on the side of protecting drug company profits and against lowering prices for patients.”
The GOP controlled the House for eight years before losing the majority in the chamber in the 2018 midterms amid a wave by congressional Democrats. But Republicans defied expectations and took a big bite out of the Democrats’ majority in November’s elections and only need to flip five seats in 2022 to regain control of the chamber.