Reducing Government Waste
Medicare Part D reform
The pharmaceutical industry has used its lobbying heft — it spent $272,000 in campaign donations per member of Congress in 2015, and it has more lobbyists than there are members of Congress — to bar the government from bargaining for drug prices in Medicare Part D. That amounts to a $50 billion dollar annual gift to pharmaceutical companies. By the design of the program, the federal government is not permitted to negotiate prices of drugs with the drug companies, as federal agencies do in other programs. How stupid is that! The Department of Veterans Affairs, which is allowed to negotiate drug prices has been estimated to pay between 40% and 58% less for drugs, on average, than Medicare Part D! The prohibition on not permitting Medicare Part D to negotiate prices of drugs with the drug companies is a prime example of special interests screwing the public and is just plain wasteful. Former Congressman Billy Tauzin, R–La., who steered the giveaway bill through the House, retired soon after and took a $2 million a year job as president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the main industry lobbying group (See Congressional Ethics below). Greg Walden’s biggest contributors are those same pharmaceutical lobbies.
A single Air Force F-35A costs a whopping $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs an unbelievable $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million. Why are we spending so much money on a single aircraft? Why are we building fighters that need pilots instead of a fighter drone that could do more, carry a bigger payload and not need a pilot who costs millions of dollars to train? We could save billions of dollars, keep our military safer, carry bigger payloads, and build more fighters, just by reforming this program.
Working Together, not Against Each Other
About half of all former senators and congressmen become lobbyists when they leave public office. This is simply wrong. These former members of Congress receive handsome compensation from corporations and special interests as they attempt to influence the very federal government in which they used to serve.
Serving in the Congress should not be an apprenticeship for your next, better paying job. It should be public service. Accordingly, I would introduce the following bill:
No person who has been elected to either the United States Congress or Senate nor their spouse or children, shall, after the person’s election and for a period of seven (7) years after the person has left office, be employed by, or receive any gifts or compensation from, any person, company, union or other organization or entity that has done business with the United States Government during the time period that the person held office unless such compensation was earned prior to the person’s election and disclosed by the person within 30 days of his or her election.