Clyburn calls to cap cost of insulin in stump speech for Budzinski – KSDK

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House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn visited Illinois’ 13th District in push to protect Democratic control of Congress.

CAHOKIA, Ill. — Democrats brought a heavy hitter to rally voters in the Metro East over the weekend as they push to protect their majority in Congress this November.

“The Democratic majority runs through this district,” Democratic nominee Nikki Budzinski told the crowd as she introduced the keynote speaker at her Saturday afternoon campaign event in Cahokia Heights.

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the third most powerful member of Congress, took the stage and delivered a 25-minute stump speech to a packed parking lot full of Democratic voters and candidates who filled their paper plates with smoked barbecue chicken wings.

“We want people in office who know what it means to see the need of working men and women, people who know what it means to see a child hungry,” Clyburn told the crowd.

In South Carolina, Clyburn’s fish fry can catapult a candidate to the White House. When Clyburn rallies voters in New England, the menu might include crab cakes or lobster rolls.

“We just try to adapt to local communities,” he said.

Wherever he goes, Clyburn prefers the people in the crowd leave with their fill of food and politics.

“Both of them will sustain us,” Clyburn said afterwards. “Some may be more for the body, others for the spirit.”

Clyburn urged voters to support candidates who can understand the struggles of balancing hunger and health care.

“If you don’t know what it’s like to not know exactly whether or not you’re going to have to make a choice between taking your insulin or taking a meal, if you don’t have those experiences, you don’t have the wherewithal to do what’s right by folks,” he said.

Clyburn, the most prominent Black member of Congress, drew parallels between his majority-Black district and Democratic strongholds in St. Clair County.

“This part of Illinois, like my part of South Carolina, has, in fact, been overlooked, in many, many ways, and has, in fact, been taken for granted,” he said.

The 82-year-old Democrat referred back to his late wife’s struggles with diabetes before her death in 2019.

“I saw her monthly bill for insulin,” he said. “Some months, $900. Other months, $1,200. Insulin has been around for 100 years. Insulin is one of the cheapest medications you can get. Why is it that they are charging so much?”

Clyburn’s focus on reducing the cost of prescription drugs mirrors Democrats’ national strategy to address concerns over inflation by promising tangible results to people looking for savings in their monthly budgets.

Budzinski, who has campaigned on a call to freeze the federal gas tax, says she supports capping the cost of insulin while her Republican opponent Regan Deering doesn’t.

“I support something that Whip Clyburn talked about, which is capping the cost of insulin,” Budzinski said.

“She [Deering] doesn’t support capping the cost of insulin,” Budzinski said. “She wouldn’t have supported legislation that would have lowered the cost of prescription drugs when Medicare can now negotiate with Big Pharma over lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”

Budzinski referred to the Inflation Reduction Act, which expanded Medicare’s leverage to negotiate for lower drug prices in some cases.

A spokeswoman for Deering disputed Budzinski’s comment in a statement.

“I support capping the cost of insulin and other live-saving drugs and would certainly vote to do so,” Deering said, but added a disclaimer that the proposal would have to be “in a responsible, standalone bill.”

Deering and Budzinski are scheduled to debate next month.

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September 13, 2022 at 07:27AM

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