Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) on Wednesday joined a growing, if not extremely vocal, chorus of Republicans warning that the GOP should not move forward with its longtime goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act until it has a replacement plan ready to go.
“You cannot repeal and not replace,” Jones told MSNBC’s Peter Alexander. “You have to replace.”
Asked to elaborate on what a replacement would look like, Jones acknowledged that he and his fellow GOP lawmakers have yet to see a proposed bill in writing.
“Mr. Pence said today that after Mr. Trump is sworn in there will be movement to present some ideas as to how we need to fix the problems in the Affordable Care Act,” he said.
The Vice President-elect met with the Republican conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday to discuss repealing the law, and emphasized in two press conferences that there would need to be an “orderly transition” to prevent Americans from enduring extended periods without healthcare coverage. Donald Trump, too, sent a tweet cautioning Congress not to move too swiftly or risk assuming responsibility for the ACA’s shortcomings.
As MSNBC’s Alexander pointed out, Republicans have had seven years to develop a replacement for the healthcare law.
“This is their window of opportunity,” Alexander said of GOP lawmakers, “and as you concede there is no bill to see because none exists. There is no plan yet.”
“That’s what I’m saying,” Jones replied. “For my party, the Republican Party, we must have a side-by-side replacement as we begin to repeal.”
“President-elect Trump has said that in the last few weeks,” he added. “He has not been quite as adamant about a total repeal and not have some type of replacement for those people—as you said earlier, Peter—that need the coverage.”
On the campaign trail, Trump often delivered fiery tirades pledging an “immediate,” full repeal of the law. In a November address on healthcare, he pledged to convene a special session of Congress that would undo the ACA “very, very quickly.”
Both Trump and senior Republicans seemed to dial that language back in recent weeks, announcing Wednesday that the President-elect would instead issue executive actions to smooth the process for repeal on the first day of his administration.
They did not elaborate on what those executive actions would involve.
Alexander’s office did not immediately respond Wednesday afternoon to TPM’s request for further comment.
Watch his MSNBC interview below: