Washington, DC – This week, Republicans in Congress continued to stand with President Trump to reject the will of the American people, while also laying the groundwork to delay and obstruct the incoming administration and Cabinet to preserve the status quo and protect their special interest allies. At the same time, Senate Republicans started attacking Biden’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra, who threatens to take on Republicans’ pharmaceutical special interest allies if confirmed.   

“As Republican Senators continued the cowardly and dangerous charade of refusing to acknowledge President-elect Biden won the election, they are also doing everything they can to lay the groundwork for that obstruction to continue even beyond Inauguration Day,” said Mairead Lynn, spokesperson for Accountable.US Senate War Room. “Republicans are desperate to protect their special interest allies and corporate donors who benefit from the status quo and whose bottom lines would be impacted if President-elect Biden and his administration were able to deliver on their agenda.”

On Tuesday, Republican congressional leaders blocked a simple resolution that essentially acknowledged Joe Biden as president-elect. 

  • POLITICO: GOP leaders block measure affirming Biden as president-elect. [Politico, 12/08/20]
     
  • CNN: GOP leadership rejects resolution acknowledging Biden as President-elect. “Congressional Republican leaders rejected a resolution that asserted that Joe Biden is president-elect, the latest effort by the Hill GOP to refuse to accept the election results even though it’s been clear for weeks that President Donald Trump lost.” [CNN, 12/08/20]

A majority of House Republicans took their obstruction efforts even further yesterday, supporting a lawsuit to overturn a democratic election in which Biden won by more than seven million votes — a move chastised by some Republicans as “dangerous” and “[breaking] faith with American democracy.”

  • Washington Post: More than half of House Republicans support Texas lawsuit challenging election results. “The GOP response underscores the party’s fealty to the lame-duck president and Republicans’ fear of drawing his wrath and that of his supporters ahead of midterm elections in 2022 — and potential primary challenges from the right.” [Washington Post, 12/10/20]

Meanwhile, President-elect Biden announced Xavier Becerra as his pick for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) — and Senate Republicans wasted no time attacking Becerra’s record of going up against special interest allies to fight for working families. Republicans came out of the woodwork to invent flimsy and hypocritical concerns because they know Becerra will take on their special interest allies, including the pharmaceutical industry, as the head ofHHS. 

  • STAT News: 3 reasons the drug industry should be worried about Biden’s HHS pick, Xavier Becerra. “But there are clear clues, already, that Becerra will be tough on the drug industry if he chooses to prioritize policies in the space. During his time as attorney general, Becerra was involved in several major investigations of drug makers’ business practices, from their patent deals to their dealings with charities. That experience could inform his decision to tackle those issues as HHS secretary and how he might proceed.” [STAT News, 12/08/20]

Senator Rick Scott, a former health care executive whose company was forced to pay $1.7 billion in fines after defrauding Medicare, refused to answer whether he believes Becerra, who would regulate Medicare and Medicaid should he be confirmed, deserves a floor vote in the Senate. 

  • Accountable.US Senate War Room: After his company defrauded Medicare while he walked away with $300 million, Scott has consistently stood with health care corporations and special interests allies to restrict access to health care for working families. In contrast, as attorney general, Becerra has a record of cracking down on fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and would be charged with regulating those programs as HHS secretary.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas said the quiet part out loud when he admitted that he was all too happy to jam through Trump’s HHS nominee, former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar, because Azar would look out for Big Pharma interests. Cornyn has taken more than $1 million in pharma industry contributions. His former chief of staff and several other employees became lobbyists for pharmaceutical companies, including one accused of price-gouging COVID-19 drugs. In recent years, Cornyn switched his vote and gutted his own legislation in favor of the pharmaceutical industry position. Additionally, Cornyn has taken more than $1.7 million in insurance industry contributions. 

  • Cornyn: “I don’t know what his Health and Human Services credentials are. It’s not like Alex Azar, who used to be, you know, work for pharma…”  [Politico, 12/08/20]
     
  • Accountable Pharma: Senator Cornyn Admits He Believes Health Secretary Should Be In The Pocket of Big Pharma. Senator Cornyn admitted yesterday that his concerns with President-elect Biden’s HHS nominee, Xavier Becerra, are due to the fact that Becerra is not in the pocket of Big Pharma. Cornyn has taken over $1 million from the pharmaceutical industry and loyally did their bidding in Congress for years, even gutting his own bill that would have held drug companies accountable and changing his vote on a generic drug bill following heavy lobbying and contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.

Watchdog group Accountable.US recently launched the Accountable Senate War Room to fight back against those lawmakers who seek to overturn the will of the people by standing in the way of the smooth transition of power and the swift approval of nominees to ensure that the government can function and deliver results for the American people.

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