Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is willing to work with President Trump if he drops repeal
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer(D-NY) knows President Donald Trump better than anyone on Capitol Hill. Just hours after the Republican Congress led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) failed to give the president a bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare the Democrats made it clear they would be willing to work with President Trump on one condition – drop any thoughts of repealing the law.
Yesterday when asked by the media about President Trump’s comments that Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were the biggest losers in yesterday’s defeat of the GOP bill he smiled and stated.
“They never reached out to us, they never talked to us, they never said how can we work together to make it better. The failure is of course completely among the Republicans, President Trump and the Congress. They weren’t even trying to get Democrats involved.”
“And now, it’s about time for the president to lead,” he charged, “not to name call, not to blame, but to lead. To simply say people are going to suffer and someone’s to blame, that makes no sense at all. If you’re a real president, you care about people’s suffering and we’re ready to work with the president.”
“Take repeal off the table,” he reiterated. “Let him and Speaker Ryan, Mitch McConnell say ‘we’re not repealing’ and we’ll work with them on improving Obamacare. But in the meantime for the president to do things to make Obamacare worse and have million’s people suffer, to make sure it doesn’t work when CBO says it does work, that’s not being president.
The minority leader was asked if he could work with President Trump on a bi-partisan healthcare law, one that could pass both chambers on the Hill. Schumer was quick to reply reiterated his party’s willingness to work with the president, saying, “If they take repeal off the table, absolutely.”
“They tried to repeal it, they failed,” he concluded. “If they keep trying to repeal it, we won’t be able to do anything. So of course, we’ll come to them. And it’s about time for the president to act like a president. Not to make people suffer, make things worse by making Obamacare worse, it’s a good bill now, he can try to make it better, that’s fine. But this idea, ‘ha ha ha, people will suffer’ that is not what a president’s supposed to be. We’re not gloating that they failed. We’re sad that they won’t work with us to improve Obamacare.”
Don’t expect Schumer and his fellow Democrats to push for a deal anytime soon. The sting of the loss in the House is a bit too raw to start moving on a bi-partisan bill until perhaps the summer.
In the meantime, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could do some things that could help. One option would be to loosen oversight of the package of benefits the ACA requires. Republicans say not everyone wants to have to buy all those health services, which drive up premium prices and he might try that move to see if it does what it was advertised to do.
For the past five years Democrats have been saying they’re willing to work with Republicans on heath reforms and fixes – as long as they don’t resemble anything close to the end of Obamacare.
There might be a bill in they can use as a base and build on it was built for bi-partisan support. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have a middle-of-the-road plan that would let states opt to keep Obamacare if they like it, or move to a brand new system. It didn’t get any traction when House Republicans were full bore on repeal — but the moment could come, in the future, for a second look.
Bottom-line is Obamacare won’t be repealed or replaced but meaningful healthcare must happen. In the end only through bi-partisan work will take care of all the people and that is something that President Trump can support.
Quotes in this story came from CNN and Associated Press.