An alarming new report indicates that there are three lobbyists working on the 21st Century Cures Act for every lawmaker.
A new health care law is working its way through Congress with a truly astonishing amount of lobbyists surrounding it. More than 1,455 lobbyists representing 400 companies are pushing for or against a House version of the 21st Century Cures Act, which is three times as many congressman currently on Capitol Hill, according to an NPR report.
It’s important legislation as it would give the Food and Drug Administration new powers to rapidly approve drugs, medical devices, and other patentable things in the medical industry. It would also add money for the National Institutes of Health. The House version passed in June 2015 would have given $1.75 billion to the NIH over five years above its current budget.
The total number of lobbyists involve makes this the second most-lobbied health care bill since 2011, according to the report. Only the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 got more lobbying attention.
“In a bill of this importance and consequence, a lot of groups have a lot of interest in every line in that bill, and they’re going to put as much pressure as they can on legislators — and maybe some executive branch people as well — to get favorable language in that bill to support their interests,” said former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who founded the Indiana University Center on Representative Government after spending more than three decades in the House of Representatives, as quoted int he NPR report. “The more intense the lobbying, the more money is at stake.”
But at 400 organizations, the lobbying activity doesn’t even come close to the granddaddy of them all, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in 2009, which brought out lobbyists from 1,200 organizations.