SENATE TO CONSIDER DRUG EXPORT BILL AFTER BUDGET RESOLUTION UNDER AGREEMENT BETWEEN SENATORS DOLE AND METZENBAUM; FLOOR ACTION IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS
Senate Majority Leader Dole (R-Kan.) and Sen. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) have an agreement to begin Senate consideration of Sen. Hatch's (R-Utah) Drug Export Reform Bill after the Senate has dealt with the budget resolution. Drug export legislation is ready for floor action and could have come before the budget. In return for the delay, Metzenbaum reportedly has agreed not to filibuster the motion to call up export legislation. The Ohio Democrat is also expected to refrain from offering on the Senate floor all two dozen amendments he has prepared to the export bill. The Dole/Metzenbaum agreement was struck on April 18 -- one day after Dole had developed a strategy for bringing the bill to the Senate floor on April 21. On April 17, Dole put the export bill on the Senate calendar with a cloture petition. Had the bill and petition been filed, they would have been called to the floor two legislative days later. Moving ahead with the cloture petition was apparently urged by pharmaceutical industry representatives. Speaking to an April 16 session of the Natl. Assn. of Retail Druggists (NARD) annual legislative conference, Dole said: "I'm meeting tomorrow morning with some of the pharmaceutical people for breakfast to see if they've got a strategy." Dole told NARD that he had been withholding the export bill from floor consideration. "We hope to take it up in the next 30 days," he said, "we've got a problem though by the name, Metzenbaum." Dole Was Not Ready To Devote 10 Days Of Senate's Limited Schedule To Drug Exports The Senate has "only got 90 legislative days left this year," Dole explained. "If I move to proceed on a bill, you can filibuster even the motion to bring it up, which takes a week or two. Then once a bill is up you've got a filibuster on the bill itself, and that's another week or two." The Senate "can't" afford 10 days on the export bill, he said. "We just spent 10 [days] on the little airport transfer bill. Of course, that was different because the Secty. of Transportation [elizabeth Hanford Dole] wanted that one, and I like sleeping home at night." Although cloture will limit filibustering, Metzenbaum could cause difficulties by calling for roll-call votes on each of his two dozen amendments. Sens. Gore (D-Tenn.) and Proxmire (D-Wis.) are also said to have amendments that they want to introduce. None of the amendments are expected to pass. A House version of the Hatch legislation, sponsored by Reps. Madigan (R-Ill.) and Scheuer (D-N.Y.), has attracted an additional 60 cosponsors, Madigan told the NARD conference. When the bill (HR 3995) was introduced, it had 20 cosponsors, including "a majority of the members of the Energy & Commerce Cmte.," Madigan noted. On the other hand, Health Subcmte. Chairman Waxman's (D-Calif.) bill, which is significantly more restrictive, "doesn't have very much support," Madigan said. However, he noted, Waxman has "indicated the willingness to sit down" and discuss the concept of exports. At an April 15 session of NARD's conference, Rep. Luken (D-Ohio) suggested that because export legislation requires labeling as to FDA approval status for drug products shipped overseas, the Senate bill might be an appropriate "vehicle" for a rider mandating FDA approval status to be included in labeling and advertising for domestic products. Although Waxman's HR 2244 passed the House last year, it "might not independently gain passage" in the Senate, Luken said. However, "the export bill, which is also under consideration in the House, would provide a vehicle for the other legislation."
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