Evercore Says Impeachment Step May Hurt Drug-Price Deal, USMCA

(Bloomberg) -- An impeachment process is “an enormous undertaking” that’s likely to make any U.S. policy accomplishments hard to come by, according to Evercore ISI.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that the House is opening a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, asserting that he’s violated his oath of office and obligations under the Constitution. Legislation on pharmaceutical prices is one aspect of the agenda that’s likely to be hindered by the development, Sarah Bianchi, Evercore ISI’s head of U.S. public policy, wrote in a note Tuesday.

Evercore Says Impeachment Step May Hurt Drug-Price Deal, USMCA

“Prescription drug pricing legislation was already likely to be watered down -- or perhaps not pass at all,” Bianchi said.

That echoed comments from Cowen & Co.’s Chris Krueger saying a potential bipartisan deal on the topic could be “collateral damage” from impeachment proceedings.

READ: Merck, Celgene Drugs Could Be Hit By Democratic Pricing Bill

To be sure, it’s not clear that Congress and the White House had plans or appetite for working through much if any major legislation in the coming months. On guns, for example, Trump is still undecided on what restrictions he’d back, if any, and Senate Republicans have said they can’t move forward until they know what the president would sign.

And despite a bipartisan push for new legislation to rein in the cost of prescription drugs, Republican and Democratic leaders have yet to coalesce around actual policy changes.

However slim those legislative chances were, or now are, the White House pounced on the opportunity to fault Democrats for any lack of progress.

The Democrats’ move has “destroyed any chances of legislative progress for the people of this country by continuing to focus all their energy on partisan political attacks,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. Trump made similar comments via Twitter, calling out gun safety and infrastructure in addition to drug prices as areas where progress might be stymied.

Bianchi said it’s also possible that ratification of the new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada could be affected.

“It is not clear what happens to USMCA, which has a much clearer path forward through Congress than prescription-drug pricing,” she said. “However, it does require Speaker Pelosi and President Trump to work closely. If things are strained enough, that work could stop as well.”

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