Most Republicans in both houses of Congress have made repealing President Obama’s signature health care law a major campaign issue this year. “Because the new health care law kills jobs, raises taxes, and increases the cost of health care, we will immediately take action to repeal this law,” says the House GOP’s “Pledge To America.”
But Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has been offering a more realistic position on the new health care reform law. Citing the need for 67 votes in the Senate to override a presidential veto, Corker said of a repeal, “The fact is that’s not going to happen, OK?” But in a recent meeting with some top GOP donors, Corker went a bit further, taking a shot at his colleagues who are calling for repeal:
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) recently told a group of high-dollar GOP donors that Senate Republicans would not move to fully repeal President Obama’s health care law next year, according to multiple sources who attended the event.
The junior senator from Tennessee told the gathering of donors not to worry about the incoming class of “crazier Republicans” because the majority of Senate Republicans, especially minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), had no intention of repealing the president’s health care bill. They instead planned to fix only the “bad parts” of the law, Corker reportedly told the group. Several attendees, including a very senior Republican official, appeared visibly shocked by Corker’s comments.
Though McConnell has said the GOP “probably” won’t be able to repeal the law, a spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Kentucky senator will move forward with a repeal bill. He “has been unambiguous…on the need to repeal the bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that actually reduce cost,” said the spokesperson, noting that McConnell said recently that the health care reform law is “the single worst piece of legislation that’s passed since the time I’ve been in the Senate. It’s just been a disaster for the country. How much repealing [President Obama is] willing to sign, I don’t know, but I think we ought to give him the opportunity.”
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), going against his previous postion, said this week that he doesn’t think “starving or repeal is probably the best approach” and many other Republicans, whether incumbents or candidates for Congress, are beginning to recognize this reality.
So according to Corker, McConnell, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), the entire GOP House caucus, and a whole host of other GOPers represent some of the “crazier Republicans.”
Corker has now responded to the Davis Intelligence Group, “I can’t imagine that I said any of those things about our candidates,” he said, adding that the health care reform law is “damaging” but that the GOP won’t have the votes to repeal. Corker also walked back his comment that McConnell won’t repeal the law. “Mitch has never said anything that wasn’t ‘repeal and replace,’” Corker said. “Every time he talks about this bill, he talks about repealing it and replacing it.”