President Trump’s cabinet is starting to take on a warped and deceitful shape. One of the newest members, who was recently confirmed by the Senate, is Jeff Sessions as Attorney General – a nomination that deeply divided the Senate amongst those who felt Sessions had a long history of racist acts and opinions. The split happened to fall down the party line, as these things often do. At first, the vote made it seem as if every single Republican senator would vote in favor of confirmation, and every single Democrat would vote against it. However, there was a single Democrat who voted for Sessions, and the reason is horrifying.
Senator Joe Manchin, from West Virginia, was the only Senate Democrat to vote for Sessions as Attorney General. Why did he do this? To understand we need to go back a few months.
Many readers might remember how the CEO of Mylan, Heather Bresch, infamously raised the price of one of the drug company’s most life-saving and prominent medicine products, the EpiPen. Bresch slowly raised the cost of each of these emergency epinephrine injectors over the last several years, and the total increase has nearly reached 500 percent. The decision to raise the price of this vital medicine was met with extreme public negativity, and Congress launched a full investigation into Bresch as a result of the price hike.
In order to determine the validity of the price gouge and whether or not it violated any existing antitrust laws, Congress went to the Federal Trade Commission for an investigation into the purpose of the price gouge. If the FTC determined the price gouge was only meant to limit competition for the EpiPen, that would confirm the antitrust laws had been broken.
Senator Blumenthal stated that schools who were seeking help from the ever-increasing cost of EpiPens by turning to the manufacturer itself were being forced to sign contracts that would force them to only buy Mylan products for at least one year. The only way the schools could receive a discount on the medicine was to agree to the terms from the company, which could be defined as extortion, and certainly falls under the umbrella of antitrust law violation. The Senator claimed that such actions would force Congress to hold Mylan, and its CEO Bresch, accountable.
Here is where the story gets complicated: Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan, is also the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin, the only Senate Democrat to vote in favor of Sessions’ nomination. When the vote was cast, the Republicans had already enough to confirm Sessions without the addition of Manchin’s vote, yet the Democrat still voted for the man, despite every other Democrat voting against him…
Manchin knew that Sessions was going to be confirmed whether or not he voted for him. As AG, Sessions will preside over the case of Mylan and Bresch, in fact, it will be one of the first cases on which Sessions will be focusing. Many political experts believe the reason for Manchin’s vote was to show a gesture of good faith toward Sessions, who would soon hold the fate of Manchin’s daughter in his hands. Manchin essentially sold his vote for the potential of a favorable judgment for his daughter, who clearly deserves to be punished for her drug company’s shady practices.