Tags: Healthcare Reform | tom cole | tough | senate | obamacare

Rep. Tom Cole: 'Tough All Along' for Senate on Obamacare

MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By    |   Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017 01:40 PM

There is still much that can be done to salvage Obamacare repeal and replace legislation in the Senate, Rep. Tom Cole said Wednesday, but he doesn't want to come down hard on the Senate for failing to bring replacement legislation up for a vote.

"This was tough all along," the Oklahoma Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "First they have to figure out what they can do, and that's not something we can help them with. We got a bill over there, we did what we were asked to do and now we see what they're able to do."

In addition, he continued, there is a lot of talk about the failure to work with Democrats to fix Obamacare, but Cole said he has not seen any proposals from the Democratic side about how to go about doing that.

"If the idea of fixing it is more and more money into a failing system, that's never going to pass over here," Cole said. "I'm content to let the Senate sit down and sort through its problems, but they need to pass something, and then we can get the conference and hopefully we can accomplish something then."

Cole said he does not know for sure if President Donald Trump's comments that the House bill was "mean" may have caused pause for some senators considering their own version of the legislation.

"I don't think so, frankly," he said. "It's not unusual for presidents to sort of flatter the Senate to try to get them to do something. So I actually give the president a lot of latitude on that. At the end of the day, we knew what we passed wouldn't be the final product."

Cole said he always felt as if the House bill would be further right than the Senate's, and that the two changers would meet somewhere in the middle, but the Senate needs to figure out what it can do.

"If it's a bipartisan product, they should get together, do that and let's go to conference," said Cole. "What we have now isn't working. It doesn't change the fact the Obamacare system is collapsing. In my state, we're looking at 69 percent rate increases. We're down to a single provider."

Cole also discussed a House Budget Committee's first steps toward overhauling the nation's tax code, including a $4 trillion budget proposal calling to reduce tax rates for businesses and individuals, including $200 billion in mandatory spending cuts on social programs.

He said he sits on the committee, and noted that the cuts would be spaced over a decade.

"Finding $200 billion out of $30 trillion and spacing it over ten years shouldn't be that hard to do," said Cole, "but nobody around here has done it for a while. I applaud the budget committee for actually going after where the real problem is at, that's entitlement spending, all that $200 billion is entitlement, so they're to be commended for taking on the tough problem."

The House has already finished passing out all 12 appropriations bills out of the full Appropriations Committee before the August recess, which has not been done since 2006.

"Next week we'll pass the national security bill ... I think again we need to sit down with our Senate friends and say listen, I think clearly healthcare goes to the back burner before,"said Cole.

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There is still much that can be done to salvage Obamacare repeal and replace legislation in the Senate, Rep. Tom Cole said Wednesday, but he doesn't want to come down hard on the Senate for failing to bring replacement legislation up for a vote.
tom cole, tough, senate, obamacare
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2017-40-19
Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017 01:40 PM
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