BOSTON - In an editorial today, the Boston Herald called out Sen. Elizabeth Warren's obstructionist tactics regarding the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan bill that advances key priorities like medical research and opioid addiction resources. The Herald blasted Warren's decision to put party politics over the needs of her constituents, lamenting that her predecessor Ted Kennedy would have never stooped to such tactics.
By The Editorial Board
It has broad bipartisan support and contains many benefits for her home state — but U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t interested in compromising on a pending medical innovation bill, not if it means missing an opportunity to lecture her inferiors on the ideological and political purity scale.
Warren last week announced she will not vote for the 21st Century Cures Act, which contains billions for new medical research and the treatment of opioid addiction and will reform the drug and medical device approval process.
States are hungry for the $1 billion set aside to help them battle the opioid crisis. There is nearly $5 billion in new funding for medical research for the National Institutes of Health. Pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech companies — a major presence in the commonwealth — await a more efficient approval process.
The bill passed the House 392-26. The Obama administration is on board.
Well, like other critics she’s concerned the bill weakens standards for approval of new drug therapies and medical devices — a giveaway, she says, to corporations. She objects to a provision that subjects the new NIH funding to annual appropriation. And she complains that the bill is covered in lobbyist fingerprints.
But instead of merely voting no — or better yet, actually working in good faith to drive a harder bargain — Warren took to the Senate floor last week and went positively nuclear.
She accused Republicans of selling government favors in exchange for campaign contributions — called them corrupt, said they were legalizing bribery. Democrats who go along with a bill like this are a party to “extortion” and need to get a spine.
(That must include the nine members of the Massachusetts House delegation, all of whom voted in favor of the bill.)
Her bravura performance will surely win praise from her admirers and repeated airing on MSNBC and “The Daily Show.” But then what? A political speech won’t produce a cure for cancer.
Warren occupies the seat once held by Ted Kennedy, one of the toughest but most uncommonly fair negotiators ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. Try to picture Kennedy walking away from an agreement that would benefit both his home state and patients and families seeking therapies and cures for disease — and that has the backing of many in his own party leadership, including the president, at a time when his party is out of power.
How far we have fallen.