After Alleged Threats Over O’Care Vote, Zinke Shares A Beer With Murkowski

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants you to know he’s getting along just fine with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Zinke posted a picture Thursday of him having a beer with Murkowski, a week after he reportedly threatened Alaska’s senators in an attempt to gain their support for Obamacare repeal.

During the Senate’s major push to repeal Obamacare, Zinke put in calls to both Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK). Per Sullivan’s account to the Alaska Dispatch News, Zinke threatened to punish the state of Alaska when it came to energy policy if the senators didn’t fall in line behind Obamacare repeal.

Murkowski, who rejected all of the Senate GOP’s repeal proposals, confirmed that she received a call from Zinke, but didn’t describe the conversation as a threat the way Sullivan had. She simply said that Zinke relayed Trump’s unhappiness with her vote against a motion to proceed to debate on Obamacare repeal, and she relayed to reporters that she would not back down after the call.

Zinke, for his part, dismissed the reports on his threat to the two senators as “laughable.”

Murkowski, as the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and chair of the Appropriations Interior-Environment Subcommittee, wields some power over the Interior Department and was not in a position to be bullied. Shortly After Zinke’s call, Murkowski postponed hearings for Interior Department nominees, although it’s not clear those delays were a response to Zinke’s call. The hearing has since been rescheduled for Thursday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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