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GOP Congressman Scott Perry's War on Insulin

GOP Congressman Scott Perry—He Just Says “NO” to Lowering the Cost of Insulin March 1, 2020

As usual, many leading members of the GOP are really members of the GHP, G rand H ypocrite P arty, especially, when lowering health care costs are involved. They talk a good game, yammering about lowering the high cost of drugs, but when votes are called to truly lower the cost of drugs millions of Americans desperately need, these “Team Red” stalwarts vote “NAY.” Exhibit A-- GOP Congressman Scott Perry. On 2/22/2020, Cong. Perry wrote, “The price of insulin has increased 600% in the last two decades—endangering patients whose access to the drug is literally life or death.” Strong powerful words about insulin costs. Perry’s words on insulin costs are, however, just hot air.

On 12/13/2019, Perry voted against the bipartisan Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. That legislation would have allowed the federal government to negotiate the cost of insulin. On 12/17/2019, he voted against the Lower Insulin Costs Now Act, which was included in a year-end appropriations bill that was passed with bipartisan support. Illinois Democratic first-term Congresswoman, Lauren Underwood, a former registered nurse, was the lead co-sponsor of this act (116th Cong. At Your Fingertips). Demagogue Donald even signed that bill into law. The Lower Insulin Costs Now Act will help lower-cost, generic insulin reach patients more quickly (americanindependent.com, Martin, D., 2/21/20). Diabetes is not some rare disease. Twenty-one million Americans have diagnosed diabetes and 29.1 million Americans or 9.3% of the population are diabetics. In the 65 years or older age group, 11.2 million or 25.9% of Americans have diabetes. Diabetes is the primary cause of death for 69,071 Americans each year and contributes to the death of 234,051 Americans annually. Diabetes kills more Americans every year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Approximately 6 million Americans use insulin (American Diabetes Association). Here's Congressman Perry.

Fourth-term GOP Congressman Scott Perry (57) currently represents Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District (CD). The present PA 10th is located in that state’s south-central part. The Keystone State 10th includes all of Dauphin County which is the largest share of the district. The 10th also includes large portions of York and Cumberland Counties. Harrisburg, PA’s capital, in Dauphin County, is part of the 10th as well as Hershey, home of Hershey’s chocolates. Nearby Middletown has Three Mile Island, home of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, which in 1979 had the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history. The 10th’s Carlisle has Dickinson College, a huge Amazon warehouse, and the U.S. Army War College. The 10th’s city of York was the westernmost capital of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War where the Continental Congress passed the weak pre-Constitutional Articles of Confederation. York has a Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant (Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac).

The York and Cumberland County parts of the 10th CD have remained traditionally GOP. However, before the 2018 elections, the PA Supreme Ct. redrew the boundaries of the 10th district, previously known as the 4th. The redrawn 10th has gained Democratic portions of Dauphin and lost some rural GOP areas. The 10th is now politically more competitive with a Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of R+6 (cookpolitical.com, 2/21/17).

San Diego, CA native Scott Perry moved to central PA when he was seven and lived in what he called “a little dysfunctional and a little disjointed family.” After graduating high school, Perry worked as an auto mechanic before enlisting in the PA Army National Guard. He became an instructor pilot and distinguished himself as a helicopter pilot, rising to the rank of brigadier general. He served for a year in Iraq where he flew 44 missions. He commanded Fort Indiantown Gap National Training Site and remained active as an assistant adjutant general at headquarters.

After receiving a BA from Penn State in business administration, Perry and a partner built a contracting firm that specialized in meter calibration and line work for municipalities. In 2002, the PA Atty. General’s office accused Perry of falsifying reports to the state Environmental Protection Department. Perry was fined $5,000 (Cook and Cohen 2020 Almanac). As past president of the PA Young Republicans, Perry won election to the PA State House in 2006. In that body, he expanded the law allowing residents to use deadly force in self-defense. He opposed then PA GOP Gov. Tom Corbett by pushing legislation that would have declined federal money to fund insurance exchanges under Obamacare. Perry ran for the House in 2012. Despite his previous legal troubles, Perry won a seven-person GOP primary. He received endorsements from leading GOPers and kind words from the then 4th district’s retiring Republican Congressman. Perry’s military background was crucial to his primary win. In the then heavily GOP 4th CD, Perry trounced his Democratic opponent receiving 60% of the vote. He coasted to re-election in the old “super-Red” 4th winning 75% of the vote in 2014 and 66% of the vote in 2016. When the former 4th became the more competitive 10th CD, Perry barely won re-election in 2018. He eked out a 51%-49% win, a 7,700- vote margin, against his Democratic opponent. His Democratic challenger, a retired Army lieutenant and Lutheran minister, emphasized gun safety and compassionate treatment for immigrants (Cohen & Cook 2020).

In the House, Cong. Perry continues to push his campaign agenda, a leaner federal government, gun rights, traditional marriage, and military issues. Perry is an active member of the Freedom/”Freedumb” Caucus. The Freedom Caucus is a small group of GOP hard-right extremists that is sympathetic to the anti-government Tea Party movement and is the furthest right-bloc within the House Republican Conference. It was founded in 2015 by ideologue Jim Jordan (R-OH) and was instrumental in forcing former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to leave Congress. As an active Freedom Caucus member, Cong. Perry supported the partial government shut down that Trump hoped would result in funding of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Perry failed to succeed Cong. Mark Meadows (R-NC) as Freedom Caucus chair (See Cohen & Cook, 2020).

In 10/2017, after Hurricane Maria, Cong. Perry ridiculously accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of “exaggerating” that disaster in Puerto Rico (Tornoe, 10/12/17, inquirer.com/philly). In 1/2018, Perry suggested that ISIS may have contributed to the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. Local and federal law enforcement asserted that shooter Stephen Paddock had no ISIS connection (Samuels, thehill.com, 2/18/18). In 12/2019, Perry was also one of 195 House GOPers who voted against both articles of impeachment against Demagogue Donald. Since Donald took office, Congressman Perry has voted in lockstep with him 89.5% of the time. In the 115th Cong., he voted with Donald 85.3% of the time. Despite his narrow 51% 2018 election win, Perry has voted since the start of the 116th Cong. in 2019 with Donald 95.5% of the time (projects.fivethirtyeight.com, americanindependent.com, Israel, J., 2/24/20). He has 100% ratings from right-wing Freedom Works. The hard- right Koch front group Americans for Prosperity has given him a 94% score. In 2016, Koch Industries gave Perry at least $10,000 and in 2018 at least an another $10,000 (opensecrets.org, sourcewatch.org). Perry has a near cellar rating of 3% from the League of Conservation Voters and a 0% score from Planned Parenthood Action Fund(govtrack.us). From 2017-2018, Rep. Perry had a 97%-3% Conservative Liberal Rating according to the Cohen-Cook 2020 Almanac.

Perry “boasted” in a 2/23/2020 local television interview that he is part of a group of House Republicans (Freedom Caucus) that is “brave enough to vote against his party’s leadership.” His record totally repudiates this absurd comment (americanindependent.com, Israel, J., 2/24/20). We should not at all be surprised that Cong. Perry has voted against bills to lower the cost of life-saving insulin. Perry voted to repeal Obamacare (Cohen & Cook 2020). Perry has voted against popular legislation to let Medicare negotiate prescription lower drug prices. He voted against combatting gender pay discrimination. He additionally was a “NAY” for expanding universal background checks for gun purchases and raising the minimum wage. Background checks and minimum wage increase votes passed the House with some GOP support and have broad public backing. Perry’s lock step voting record with his party’s congressional leadership puts him ahead of some of Donald’s most vocal House defenders including Cong. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Mark Meadows (R-NC), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) (americanindependent.com).

Some 86% of PA voters support universal background checks and 70% favor a minimum wage increase (americanindependent.com, Israel, J., 2/24/20). Although Donald carried PA in 2016 by about 44,000 votes or .7%, a recent poll gives Trump a 44%-52% approval-disapproval Keystone State score (Cohen & Cook 2020, americanindependent.com, 2/24/20). The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which recruits and helps House “Team Blue” incumbents and challengers, has placed Cong. Perry on its early 2020 target list (Cohen & Cook 2020). Two Democrats will be running in the 4/28/2020 primary, Tom Brier and Eugene DePasquale (ballotpedia.org, 10th CD). Brier is an attorney in private practice. De Pasquale, also an attorney, is currently PA’s Auditor General. He previously served in the PA State House and was chair of the York Democratic Party (ballotpedia.org). Whoever wins this PA congressional Dem. primary must be supported with strong financial backing. Voters in the 10th Cong. CD must also come out in droves plus on 11/03/2020. Yes, Cong. Perry, with his extremist views, is a poor fit for the 10th CD. However, he has the advantage of incumbency and still represents a GOP-leaning district. He will be hard to defeat. However, based on Perry’s narrow 2018 win, this race is doable for “Team Blue” in 2020. Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez has repeatedly said, “Every zip code counts,” and, therefore, every congressional race must be contested. That is the only way for Democrats to keep and expand control in the House.

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