Drug companies are particularly hungry for Democratic help, including the industry’s trade association. “We woke up the day after the election to a new world,” said Ken Johnson, spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “We’re going to have tough days ahead of us.”
A post-election e-mail to executives at the drug company GlaxoSmithKline details just how tough. “We now have fewer allies in the Senate,” says the internal memo, obtained by The Washington Post. “Thus, there is greater risk over the next two years that bad amendments will be offered to pending legislation.” The company’s primary concerns are bills that would allow more imported drugs and would force price competition for drugs bought under Medicare.
The defeat of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) “creates a big hole we will need to fill,” the e-mail says. Sen.-elect Jon Tester (D-Mont.) “is expected to be a problem,” it says, and the elevation to the Senate of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) “will strengthen his ability to challenge us.”
The e-mail also mentions that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) “has worked closely” with the company and that the firm’s PAC had supported six Democratic senators who faced reelection. “These relationships should help us moderate proposals offered by Senate Democrats,” the e-mail says.
Explaining the memo, GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Patricia Seif said: “It’s important that we’re knowledgeable about the positions of the members of the next Congress.”
Even as additional Democratic lobbyists are hired, Republican lobbyists don’t expect much falloff in business because GOP lawmakers will be key to stopping legislation that corporations oppose. “You may need to bring other voices to the table as well, but it’s not like a light switch being thrown when someone else is in control,” said GOP lobbyist Mark Isakowitz of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock.
In fact, lobbying overall is likely to increase. “With a closely divided Congress, you’re going to have both sides spending more,” said Kent Cooper of PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan research group. “It will be like an arms race.”