Battle over bill that would make cancer drugs more affordable

MADISON (WITI) -- There are enough votes in the state Senate to pass a bi-partisan bill that would make cancer drugs more affordable. But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald won't allow the bill to come up for a vote.

No bill can be voted on while it is scheduled for a hearing. So on Wednesday, March 12th, Fitzgerald scheduled the bill for a hearing to prevent the vote -- and then cancelled the hearing once the Senate was adjourned.

"It's a procedural move to make sure there isn't a pulling motion on the floor by the Democrats, and the reason for it is we just don't have consensus in the caucus on how to move forward on that bill," said Fitzgerald.

Democrats say the bill should be brought to the floor.

"You've got to hold out hope that in the end those who really want this and those who really need it will win out," said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said.

"I think it would pass in the Senate because I think there's enough Democrat senators who have spoken to me about the bill that I'm pretty sure there'd be enough votes for it," said Fitzgerald.

So why is a bill that a majority of senators support being blocked?

"It's a majority of the body, not a majority of the people who make up the Republican caucus," said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald announced the state Senate will convene two more days before it ends its two-year legislative session. Some senators are holding out hope the bill could make it to the floor on one of these days. But at this point, some serious differences would have to be worked out.

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