White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump “will not accept” GOP senators saying it’s “time to move on” from repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Both Conway and White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney took to the Sunday morning talk shows to address how the president plans to deal with the Republicans’ latest embarrassing failure to corral 50 senators to replace Obamacare. Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the country that “it’s time to move on” following Friday’s 51-49 vote, both Conway and Mulvaney warned that “moving on” is not an option.
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“Do they not expect this president to go ahead and do what he said he was going to do?” Conway told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “The president will not accept those who have said it’s … ‘time to move on.’ He wants to help the millions of Americans who have suffered with no coverage. They were lied to by the last president. They couldn’t keep their doctor. They couldn’t keep their plan. We’ve met with the Obamacare victims at the White House several times now. They’re real people. They’re suffering.”
“[Trump] will stick with it,” Conway added. “There’s just so much that’s happening.”
On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” before following that up with another tweet, saying, “Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!”
Trump added Sunday morning, “Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace…and go to 51 votes (nuke option), get Cross State Lines & more.”
Trump’s threat that he might choose to revoke the Obama-era provisions granting Congress members and their staffers the ability to obtain subsidies for their health insurance caught Washington, D.C.’s attention.
“[Trump’s] going to make that decision this week, and that’s a decision that only he can make,” Conway said, adding that it is unfair to the American people that members of Congress and their staffers enjoy “this really sweet deal” where “they are not beholden to the same health care that so many Americans say is unaffordable and unsustainable and untenable.”
“And this is exactly what so many Americans hate about Washington, D.C. They feel like they have their nose pressed up against the glass peering into the special interests, the swamp, the lobbyists, the folks on Capitol Hill,” Conway said. “They want people to live under the same rules they do. And frankly, if people had the same rules on Capitol Hill, maybe they would have a stronger taste of what it feels like to be uninsured, or what it feels like to have to choose between paying your premiums and paying your grocery bill.”
Pointing to Trump’s popular campaign promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., Conway noted that the swamp includes “many people, many institutions, individuals, and, I think, calcified ideas that need disruption.”
“And it includes, it includes focus also on Capitol Hill,” Conway added. “I don’t know what they were expecting, Chris. Were they not expecting Donald Trump to make good on his campaign promise and the moral imperative of getting the 20 million plus Americans who have no health care coverage the relief they need?”
During an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mulvaney told host Jake Tapper that the White House’s “official policy” regarding the fight for healthcare reform calls upon Congress to stick with it before moving on to other items on its legislative agenda. Noting that this policy is “simply reflecting the mood of the people,” Mulvaney said that Congress “should stay and work and figure out a way to solve this problem.”
“So in the White House’s view they can’t move on in the Senate. In the people’s view they shouldn’t move on in the Senate,” Mulvaney said. “So yes, they need to stay, they need to work, they need to pass something … and I think that’s not only official White House policy on this, right now it’s sort of the national attitude towards it.”
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If the GOP follows McConnell’s advice and “moves on” from health care reform, Mulvaney said the Republican senators would be “quitters” who reneged on their promises to the American people.
“You do have Obamacare. It is failing, it is hurting people, so not to change it allows that [to] go forward,” Mulvaney said. “At the same time, you have the political consideration that you promised folks you’d do this for seven years — you cannot go back on that.”