GOP senator criticizes Paul Ryan's warning to Republicans on health care reform

VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
ABC News
GOP senator criticizes Paul Ryan's warning to Republicans on health care reform (ABC News)

GOP senator criticizes Paul Ryan's warning to Republicans on health care reform

GOP senator criticizes Paul Ryan's warning to Republicans on health care reform (ABC News)

Republican Sen. Bob Corker criticized House Speaker Paul Ryan for warning Republicans that if they don't pass health care reform, President Trump may work with Democrats on the issue.

"We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem," the senator from Tennessee tweeted today in response to Speaker Ryan's comments to CBS News.



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Corker appeared to be responding to the speaker's comments in an interview that aired today on "CBS This Morning," in which Ryan said Republicans should support the GOP legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare or risk that the president could work with Democrats.

Ryan said Trump was "deeply involved" and "really rolled up his sleeves" in last week's effort to pass the Republican health care bill in the House.

But, the Wisconsin Republican said, "What I’m worried about, if [Republicans] don’t do this, he’ll go work with Democrats to try to change Obamacare, and that’s hardly a conservative thing."

"I know he wants to get things done with the Republican Congress. But if this Republican Congress allows the perfect to be the enemy of the good, I worry we'll push the president into working with Democrats," the speaker said.

"I want a patient-centered system," Ryan said. "I don't want government running health care."

Ryan did not say whether he has reached out to House Democrats, including his counterpart, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, on health care.

"Nancy and I see things very, very differently," Ryan said.

The speaker clarified his remarks at a press conference later in the day after he was asked whether he was discouraging bipartisanship.

"We have long histories of working with Democrats, but I don't think it's a stretch of the mind to suggest that the Democrats disagree with us on repealing Obamacare," said Ryan. "They're not going to help us repeal Obamacare, that's my point."

President Trump initially blamed Democrats when Republican leaders last Friday pulled their health care bill from the House floor because of a lack of support. But days later the president extended an olive branch to the opposing party.

“I know that we're all going to make a deal on health care, that's such an easy one, so I have no doubt that that's going to happen very quickly,” Trump said Tuesday night at a reception for U.S. senators at the White House.

The next day, ABC News asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer for the president's response to a letter from Senate Democrats offering to work with Trump on improving the Affordable Care Act, instead of, as the GOP wants, repealing the law.

Spicer affirmed that the White House goal is "to repeal the law and replace it," but also said, "We're willing to engage with people."


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