We always find it rather difficult to stomach how much campaign money our congressional delegation accepts from special interests, whether it's the defense industry or organized labor. This one grosses us out on a whole new level.
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Solana Beach) is holding a $1,000-a-person fundraiser on April 13 at the Associated General Contractors' townhouse in DC. That's a venue a lot of different groups use for a lot of different purposes, so don't be thrown off by the name. The fundraiser has nothing to do with construction.
No, this event is titled:
Yeah, gross to the gross-gross. It conjures images of pill hoagies and topical-ointment cracker spreads, maybe some sort of serum as an apéritif. For dessert, chocolate mousse enhanced with hormone supplements could be served in a souvenir colostomy bag. ---
Here's the announcement, via PoliticalPartyTime.org:
OK, so Bilbray's probably not going to be serving time-release-capsule baguettes, but he might be taking orders for legislation.
Bilbray serves as co-chair of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, which holds pharmaceutical-boosting hearings on a regular basis. In fact, they're meeting on the day of the Pharmaceutical Lunch (eww, it's still making us shiver) with a hearing on anesthesia titled, "Suspended Animation: Control of Respiration during Trauma." In May, obesity hormones are on the agenda.
Under the "Issues" section of his website, Bilbray lists only two: immigration and health care. For the latter, he brags about the pharma-pork he's brought to San Diego'a biotech industry and his efforts to extend a tax break for research and development.
This session, Bilbray has signed on to a number of bills that would undo provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (known pejoratively as "Obamacare"), which Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) opposed and continues to oppose, big time. As an individual legislator, Bilbray has introduced only three bills so far; one of them, HR 734, would repeal the 2.3 percent "medical-device tax" applied to manufacturers under the act.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the pharmaceuticals and health-products industry donated $53,000 to his 2010 campaign, making it his third-largest industrial source of contributions.
Certainly, all this churns our stomach a bit, but still not as much as the idea of a pharmaceutical lunch.