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'Right to Try' bill signing earns praise for Sen. Joe Donnelly

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Many are calling Wednesday’s “Right to Try” bill signing by President Donald Trump a legislative victory for U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.

"Today's signing ceremony of Joe's 'Right to Try' legislation is a reminder that as Indiana's hired help in the Senate, Joe Donnelly has delivered time and again on the issues that matter to Hoosiers,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Joe for Indiana communications director.

The president was eager to sign into law the bill he feels could help terminally ill patients across the country.

“Thousands and thousands, hundreds of thousands, we’re going to be saving tremendous numbers of lives,” said President Trump during the signing ceremony.

The “Right to Try Act” allows those eligible to undergo experimental treatments that have not been approved by the FDA.

Senator Donnelly introduced the bill in the beginning of 2017.

He talked to ABC 57 News Tuesday about pushing this bill for one Hoosier family specifically.

“I needed to get this across the finish line well before then, so a lot of people struggling with this disease can get access to medication,” said Donnelly.

But will it give re-election run some momentum heading into November’s midterms?

“A lot of democrats I’ve talked to are optimistic that he cuts the right kind of profile overall that fits in with voters and is able to say, ‘look, I’m an independent voice for Indiana,’” said Rick Klein, ABC News political director.

President Trump thanked Donnelly by name during the event, but it comes less than a month after he said called the Democratic incumbent senator ineffective.

“He’s never sponsored a bill that has become a law,” said President Trump during a rally in Elkhart.

How will these different messages from the president affect voters in November?

“He’s got a big margin in states like Indiana, but also West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, all states that have Democratic incumbent senators running for reelection,” said Klein. “The president is going to make that case though history would suggest that it’s not going to work as easily as it did for him in 2016.”


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