New Jersey senator Cory Booker has been exalted as the next Barack Obama by some in the Democratic establishment, but a recent move to block cheaper prescription drugs has some wondering if he’ll be able to inspire the same hope for change that his predecessor was able to ride to the White House in 2008.
The controversy centers around an amendment proposed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-MN] on Wednesday which sought to lower prescription drug prices in the United States by easing import restrictions with Canada. While she was able to drum up support from some Republicans, including Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the amendment eventually failed because of a lack of consensus among Democrats — one of whom was Cory Booker.
Why do Americans pay so much more than Canadians for prescription drugs? Because the pharmaceutical industry has bought the US Congress. pic.twitter.com/Si8q8otWj5
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 12, 2017
Progressive voices in the media immediately seized on the action as evidence of Cory’s commitment to the interests of pharmaceutical companies — a claim that was made with significant circumstantial evidence. First of all, Booker has taken more money than any other Democrat in Congress from the drug industry. According to transparency organization Map Light, he has received a total of $267,338 since 2013. That’s more than anyone except for Republicans Orrin G. Hatch and Mitch McConnell.
Furthermore, Cory has some key constituents who will lose out if Canada is allowed to export cheaper prescription drugs. Namely, a large list of biotech companies that operate in New Jersey. Some of which, like Merck and Celgene, also appear on his list of donors.