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Congress Budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2009--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET FOR THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009--Continued -- (Senate - March 13, 2008)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

AMENDMENT NO. 4299

Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 4299.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Louisiana [Mr. VITTER] proposes an amendment numbered 4299.

Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the need for comprehensive legislation to legalize the importation of prescription drugs from highly industrialized countries with safe pharmaceutical infrastructures)

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

SEC. X. SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING THE NEED FOR COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATION TO LEGALIZE THE IMPORTATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FROM HIGHLY INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES WITH SAFE PHARMACEUTICAL INFRASTRUCTURES.

(a) Findings.--The Senate makes the following findings:

(1) The United States is the world's largest market for pharmaceuticals, yet consumers still pay the world's highest prices.

(2) In 2000, Congress took action to legalize the importation of prescription drugs from other countries by United States wholesalers and pharmacists, and before such a program can go into effect, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) must certify that the program would have no adverse impact on safety and that it would reduce costs for American consumers.

(3) Since 2000, no Secretary of HHS has made the certification required to permit the implementation of a program for importation of prescription drugs.

(4) In July 2006, the Senate approved by a vote of 68-32 an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007, that prohibits Customs and Border Protection from preventing individuals not in the business of importing prescription drugs from carrying them across the border with Canada.

(5) In July 2007, the Senate adopted language similar to the 2007 amendment in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2008.

(6) In October 2007, the Senate adopted language in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008, that prohibits anti-reimportation activities within HHS.

(b) Sense of the Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate that--

(1) the leadership of the Senate should bring to the floor for full debate in 2008 comprehensive legislation that legalizes the importation of prescription drugs from highly industrialized countries with safe pharmaceutical infrastructures and creates a regulatory pathway to ensure that such drugs are safe;

(2) such legislation should be given an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate; and

(3) previous Senate approval of 3 amendments in support of prescription drug importation shows the Senate's strong support for passage of comprehensive importation legislation.

Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, this is about reimportation. There is a clear majority in the Congress to pass reimportation legislation. I think there is a clear 60-vote majority in the Senate to do so. So why aren't we getting on with that business? Let's do it. This simply says we should take up a full-blown reimportation bill, with all the necessary safety provisions, and have that debate and vote on the floor of the Senate this year. It is as simple as that. We have the votes. Let's do that.

I reserve the remainder of my time.


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