Privacy, drug price bills have a fighting chance in a post-election U.S. Congress

If Democrats win control of the House of Representatives in next week’s elections and create a divided U.S. Congress, as they are seen as likely to do, the number of bills with a chance of passing falls dramatically.

But two areas of general agreement between the Democrats, Republicans and President Donald Trump stand out as having a high potential of successful legislation: lowering prescription drug prices and new regulations to protect online privacy.

Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats in the Nov. 6 elections to take control of the House, and opinion polls generally give them a good chance of doing so. They are not expected to take a majority in the Senate.

Getting legislation through Congress is a heavy lift in the best of times. If power is split, the new Congress that convenes in January, even as the next presidential election season gets underway, would get even less done.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said this month that Democrats want to “lower healthcare costs, reducing the price of Rx (prescription) drugs, increasing paychecks by building the infrastructure of America and cleaner government.”

Democratic lawmakers will also focus on giving consumers control over their personal data online, a tricky subject in an age when advertising finances vast amounts of free content, according to lobbyists, privacy advocates, executives and congressional aides.

If Republicans manage to hold the House, lawmakers will likely pressure social media companies like Twitter for allegedly suppressing conservative voices, something the companies have denied doing, and try again to trim back Obamacare.