Congressman Steve Knight slammed for Hawaii trips funded by Big Pharma

Congressman Steve Knight

Congressman Steve Knight has collected more that $60,000 from the pharmaceutical industry, and voted to give them a tax break worth more than $40 billion.

Pharmaceutical companies doled out the cash for congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) to go to a “luxurious Hawaiian setting” on Maui’s southwest shore for “five days of policy discussions and schmoozing.”

Drug companies helped pay Knight’s way four separate times from 2010-2013, according to the Sacramento Bee. The junkets took place while Knight was a California state senator.

Just a few short years later, Knight, by then in Congress, handed pharmaceutical companies more than $40 billion in tax breaks when he voted for the unpopular Republican tax bill.

“Steve Knight has sold us out time and again,” said Dotty Stallman, a resident of the district. “He’s lounging on the sunny beaches of Hawaii while we’re struggling to get by.”

Constituents, decked out in Hawaiian shirts and leis, spoke out against what they saw as Knight’s misplaced interests at a rally organized by the SoCal Health Care Coalition and AV Clinic Defenders.

SoCal Health Care Coalition rally
(Photo courtesy of SoCal Health Care Coalition)

“Prescription prices and drug prices are going up and meanwhile he votes to make sure that those prices continue to go up,” said John Erickson, director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County. “He does nothing to make health care more affordable for the people here in his area.”

Constituents were particularly irked at Knight’s votes on several bills while in Congress. The aforementioned tax bill provided just five huge pharmaceutical companies a tax break of $42.7 billion.

In a related note, Knight’s campaign has pocketed almost $64,000 from the pharmaceutical industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Knight also voted to gut the popular Affordable Care Act and replace it with the GOP alternative. But the Knight-backed plan did nothing to stem rising drug costs, according to NBC News. Instead, the bill would have caused 23 million people to lose health insurance, decimated protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and worsened the opioid epidemic.

Health care continues to be a top issue in the upcoming midterm elections, and residents in Knight’s district are determined to have their voices heard.

As constituent Raquel Derfler says: “We need to hold Steve Knight accountable and make sure that his constituents know he went on four — four — Hawaiian vacations paid for by Big Pharma and then voted against the interests of the people he is supposed to represent.”

In addition to constituents, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) recently highlighted Knight’s Hawaiian getaway in an ad airing on local television stations.

Knight is locked in tight election battle with Democratic challenger Katie Hill. Hill, who has never held office, has outraised Knight each of the last two fundraising quarters. Most elections experts rate the race as a toss-up.