Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Washington Post that he will not help Republicans replace the Affordable Care Act if they follow through with a strategy to repeal the law immediately and then replace it down the road.
“We’re not going to do a replacement,” Schumer told the Washington Post. “If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs.”
Schumer’s comments come as Republicans remain divided on the best strategy to replace the health care law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would repeal the law as their first order of business in 2017, but it is unclear how Republicans plan to come up with and implement a replacement. It is very likely that Republicans will need 60 votes to implement a replacement, and thus Democratic help, according to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Republicans are counting on Democrats to feel pressure to help them come up with a replacement in two or three years, but Schumer’s comments make it clear that Democrats aren’t likely to come in with an assist. At least right now.
Schumer told the Washington Post that he was not going to budge on helping Republicans pass a replacement that fell short of Obamacare.
“The odds, after they repeal without any replacement, of us sitting at the table to do something that will chop one arm off instead of two is very small,” Schumer said. “They’re giving us tremendous leverage.”
Schumer laid out a similar scenario during a press conference on Tuesday and rank-and-file members seemed to be united in that strategy when TPM spoke with them Tuesday.