Prescription Drug Costs

Previously, I reported in this column that two bills meant to combat high drug prices had passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate. I am happy to say that President Trump has since signed them into law.

The Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018 and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act ban “gag clauses,” which are sometimes imposed by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) on pharmacists and can lead to customers paying higher prices for prescription drugs.

These bills easily passed the House and the Senate, and President Trump voiced strong support for them as he signed them into law. These were the Senate versions of legislation I worked on in the Energy and Commerce Committee with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Buddy Carter (R-GA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Gene Green (D-TX), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). They are bipartisan wins for transparency in drug pricing.

Good News for Manufacturing

America’s economic strength is often associated with manufacturing, and manufacturing jobs are often associated with well-paid, steady work.

Right now, manufacturing is enjoying a resurgence nationally and in the Ninth District.

At the national level, U.S. manufacturing capacity increased for the sixteenth straight month in September. Crucial policy changes, such as the rollback of excessive regulations both by Congress and by the Trump Administration and enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, are fueling this boom.

Prudent regulation and the cutting of excessive red tape allow those companies to devote more attention and resources to their businesses rather than complying with overly-prescriptive governmental dictates.

By making America’s tax code more competitive with the rest of the developed world, companies have more reasons to open or expand manufacturing operations in the United States.

Further, we changed the tax code to make it easier for American companies who profit overseas to bring those profits back to the United States for investment, wage increases, etc.

Wages are up. The American people are confident about their economy, and they are buying more goods, manufactured goods.

Better policies at the federal level encourage this manufacturing boom. We can share in this national manufacturing renaissance. Good economic news from the past months shows that we are in fact sharing in the growth.

The Roanoke Times highlighted that the Volvo plant in Dublin has added 300 new workers since the beginning of September and 900 new workers overall since the beginning of the year. As manufacturing swings upward, more trucks are needed to move goods, therefore increasing sales of big rigs like the ones produced in Dublin.

Other companies with established operations in the Ninth District are expanding, too. I have participated in these announcements. The paper and packaging company WestRock announced in September that it will be investing $248 million to upgrade its manufacturing operations in Covington and Alleghany County. WestRock’s choice to invest millions indicates a long-term commitment to its manufacturing operations in our area.

In Henry County, Monogram Foods also announced in September a $30 million expansion, which will lead to the creation of 300 new jobs. This is Monogram’s latest expansion in Henry County.

Not only are manufacturers with an existing presence here investing in and expanding their operations; companies have found our area ideal for establishing new operations. This happened in Henry County, where Press Glass, a flat glass manufacturer headquartered in Poland, will invest $43.55 million and create 212 jobs.

Press Glass saw what the other companies knew from their operations here. We have the workforce and the infrastructure a manufacturer needs to succeed.

As I visit businesses across the district, investments are being made and jobs are being created.

We also are working together at the local, state, and federal level to build on these assets for further growth. One example where this is occurring is Project Intersection in the City of Norton, a site being developed for future manufacturing operations. It is a product of regional cooperation through Norton and the Counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, and Dickenson. Federal contributions have included a $3.5 million grant through funding I secured in the Abandoned Mine Land reclamation program and $917,315 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Thanks to the individuals who took risks to start manufacturing goods in the United States, manufacturing helped build this country into a great economic power, and it provided many families with stable, well-paying jobs. Recent months show that by implementing better policies and leveraging the right assets, manufacturing can thrive once again, in Virginia and across the nation.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at