PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey tells Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that Senate Republicans are very close to finalizing their version of a health care bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, even saying a vote could soon follow.
“I think it’s possible, I think it’s actually reasonably likely that we’ll see a bill next week. Then everybody can have at it and criticize, attack, praise, suggest changes. I think there’s a reasonable chance that we will see a draft of legislative language as early as next week and we might vote the following week. That’s possible. Now, I’m not guaranteeing it by any means because I think there are some areas where there’s still strong disagreement, but that’s what we’re trying to get to.”
From there, Toomey thinks the most likely scenario is a conference with House Republicans to reach a compromise bill that they all agree on.
“It is possible that the Senate could pass its own version of an Obamacare repeal and beginning of replacement legislation. That would then set up a conference. It would give the House two choices at that point. The House could either simply accept what the Senate passed and pass that, in which case it goes straight to the president and that could happen quickly, but I think that’s unlikely. More likely is the House says, OK, we passed our version, you passed your version, let’s do what the textbook says the way Congress works, the way Congress used to work, and let’s sit down in a conference committee, iron out the differences, get one bill that the conferees from both the House and the Senate agree on and then put that product to a vote in both chambers. If that’s the path we take, that will surely take us into July.”
He stated Republicans have been working alone on this bill because they know the Democrats are not interested in helping them pass anything related to health care.
“Sen. McConnell invited 13 of us to work together to try to see if we can find a Republican consensus. It’s been pretty public that he, subsequently, expanded the invitation list to include all Republican senators…Is there a single Democrat in the United States Senate who has ever indicated any interest whatsoever in doing anything meaningful about Obamacare? The answer is no. Since they don’t want to work with us on this, what is the point of including people who want to simply derail what we’re trying to do? My view is there is no single issue that’s been more thoroughly litigated in American politics in the last quarter century than Obamacare. It’s been on the ballot every time since it passed and every time it was on the ballot, the American people voted for Republicans who promised to kill it, to repeal it and replace it with something that would serve people much better. That’s what we’re trying to do. It’s hard. It’s a complicated issue, but we’re working on it every day to try to get there.”
Toomey also dismissed the controversy surrounding Russian interference in the election, saying he spends his time focused on other issues.
“I understand that on cable news it’s wall-to-wall Trump and Russia. My time is probably 70 percent dedicated toward trying to reach an agreement that works on Obamacare repeal and replace, maybe 20 percent is on the tax reform that I want to do immediately after we get Obamacare taken care of and maybe 10 percent on all the other miscellaneous things that come across my desk and very, very close to zero on Trump and Russia.”