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Trent Lott: GOP Should Make Fixes to Obamacare, End Nuclear Option

By    |   Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 04:17 PM

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on Thursday urged Republicans to make technical fixes to Obamacare without completely "destroying" the controversial legislation.

"... [A]lways, on a major bill, we’d have technical corrections, right? Almost immediately [we’d correct them]," the former Republican senator from Mississippi said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, reports The Huffington Post.

"One of the things I’m looking for is, who would be the leader in the House or the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, that would try to find a way to do some improvements without demolishing the bill," Lott said.

"Is [Wisconsin Rep.] Paul Ryan going to step up and do that? How will [Utah GOP Sen.] Orrin Hatch and [Oregon Democratic Sen.] Ron Wyden work together?" asked Lott, who is now working at the D.C. lobbying firm of Patton Boggs.

Lott's comments are consistent with his belief that Republicans have few options in terms of dealing with Obamacare.

"They have tried a lot of different types of ways to deal with it. They fought the good fight, but that fight is over," he told PBS' Judy Woodruff in a 2013 interview.

In November, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in King v. Burwell, the case which is directly challenging the constitutionality of providing subsidies to residents of 36 states to purchase health insurance while they also remain on the federal exchange.

At issue is whether Congress intended for subsidies to be available to people signing up on the federal Obamacare exchange, which is how the IRS interpreted the law, or only to people signing up on state exchanges, as the text of the law reads.

Lott appeared with Tom Daschle, a Democrat and also a former Senate majority leader, with whom he has been working to promote ways to improve relations between the parties. Both are fellows at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Lott did not limit his advice to Obamacare, suggesting the Republican leadership reverse the so-called nuclear option, which current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, adopted to reduce the threshold needed to confirm executive and judicial branch nominees to a simple majority vote, according to The Hill.

Before a new Congress is sworn in, he said, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should deal "sternly" with those who do not toe the line.

"The leadership is going to have to find a way to deal sternly with some of these members… I wouldn’t put up with some of the stuff that they’re doing," said Lott, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Lott, who said last year’s partial government shutdown was a "fraud," remarked that he "wouldn’t put up with some of the stuff that they’re doing."

Daschle agreed that McConnell should act quickly to "bring in" some of the new conservative members so that they do not go it alone.

"The more you can include, the more you can engage, the more you can bring them in … the more likely it is that those stand-your-ground types will look at the advantages of finding common ground," said Daschle.

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Former GOP Sen. Trent Lott on Thursday urged Republicans to make technical fixes to Obamacare without completely "destroying" the controversial legislation.
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Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 04:17 PM
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