A glance at Corker, Alexander, the Senate Obamacare dither and related Democrat bashing of Corker — just for today

Tennessee’s two U.S. senators, Republicans Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, are apparently taking different stances on the latest move on health care legislation by many – but apparently not most — or their fellow Senate Republicans. The basic idea is to a vote to repeal Obamacare now with a two-year waiting period while Congress tries to figure out a replacement. It appears from their comments that Corker’s for it, reversing a past position; Alexander is not.

Corker issued a press release indicating support for the idea. His announcement was promptly denounced by Democrats, including James Mackler, who is campaigning for the party’s nomination to oppose him in 2018.

Alexander initially issued a press release (HERE) saying he wants to have hearings on the replacement regardless of how voting goes on the latest repeal effort with no indication of his stance  on the actual vote,  but the Tennessean today quotes Alexander on CNN as suggesting he doesn’t like the repeal-without-a-replacement idea and the votes aren’t there:

“I don’t think there are 40 votes to repeal and say to the American people, ‘Well, trust us to come up with something in the next couple of years.’ I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Alexander said.

(UPDATE/Note: Subsequently,  the Times-Free Press has this Alexander comment:  “Most pilots like to know where they’re going to land before they take off, and we should too.”)

From Corker’s press release statement:

“After being involved in many discussions over the past several months with my colleagues and stakeholders across Tennessee, I believe the best path forward is for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act after a reasonable transition period,” said Corker. “This takes us back to a level playing field where, by a date certain, all sides have incentive to work together to develop a health care replacement that can generate broad support and will stand the test of time. Regardless of how we move forward, it is my hope that our focus will be not only on coverage but also on lowering the actual cost of health care.”  

Corker participated in a lengthy meeting held by senators last night and also attended the lunch meeting held yesterday at the White House.

The Mackler press release:

NASHVILLE – According to the Tennessean, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) now supports a bill that nonpartisan analysts appointed by the Republican party say will increase insurance premiums by 100% and strip 32 million people of their insurance coverage. “Corker’s announcement represents a change of heart for the senator, who in the past had expressed concerns multiple times about the so-called ‘repeal and delay’ strategy,” wrote Michael Collins in his article titled “Sen. Bob Corker changes mind and says he will support ‘repeal and delay’ of Obamacare.”

James Mackler’s U.S. Senate campaign issued the following statement reacting to the drastic shift to Senator Corker’s public statements addressing health care reform.

“The Congressional Budget office said Senator Corker’s latest approach would increase insurance premiums by 100% while taking healthcare away from 32 million Americans – impacting thousands of families here in Tennessee,” said James Mackler campaign manager Dave Hoffman. “One party writing secret bills behind closed doors with zero hearings – this is exactly what putting politics first looks like. Tennesseans do not need more hollow words from Senator Corker and that is exactly why there are so many across Tennessee excited to hire James Mackler for the job. Healthcare is a right and cuts to Medicaid, increases in premiums for our sick and elderly, and decreases in necessary coverage would be disastrous and wrong.”

Since announcing his campaign for U.S. Senate in mid April, James Mackler has raised nearly $500,000 from Tennesseans in 77 counties.

The referenced Tennessean story (link above) has other comments from those criticizing Coker, including state Democratic Chair Mary Mancini, who noted Corker earlier this year said that “repeal and replace should take place simultaneously.” She says, “Now he is going back on everything he said less than 6 months ago.” The CNN video of Alexander’s comments, made to reporters asking questions as he was taking a walk, is HERE.


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