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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined CNBC's Squawk Box this morning to discuss Senate Republicans' plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement and the GOP appropriations process. Below are excerpts from the interview and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
On Repealing the ACA Without A Replacement
“...Senator McConnell made it clear that if, in fact, they fail to pass a replacement bill, that he thought the alternative was to work together with Democrats. I think that's the right way to go. I don't think it was a bad alternative. I think it's the preferable alternative. I think we need to deal with the small markets; we need to deal with costs; we need to make sure that counties everywhere throughout America have access to an insurance policy. So I think all of those things ought to be on the table. I think we ought to make sure that we can stabilize the market, the reinsurance provisions that we undercut because the Republicans wouldn't appropriate the money that was set forth in the bill to do and increased prices and undermined the market stability. I think we could accomplish all of those things if we work together, that's what we ought to do. We'll see whether or not the Republicans will either next week or sometime in the future, repeal. I think the CBO is right on target with what the ramifications of that would be. And when I talk to my small hospitals, or I talk to other providers ,or I talk to docs, frankly you talk to insurance companies, if they repeal, the market will be substantially disrupted and millions and millions of people, far more than repeal and replace, would be adversely affected.”
“...Of course, the CBO said if you eliminate the Medicaid expansion, 15 million people lose their insurance in 2018 alone, and more going forward. So clearly you've got to deal with that and that's, for instance, what Republican Governor Sandoval in Nevada, Kasich in Ohio, other Republican governors have expressed such deep concern about, that they have got to find a way to deal with those people and make sure they have access to health care insurance. What we ought to do responsibly is sit down at the table. You and I both know that there were no hearings, no witnesses, no amendments to any of these bills and there has not even been a chance for Republicans in a committee setting to have hearings or offer amendments, so if we start to do that, I think good ideas will percolate up. We'll see whether or not there is common ground. If there is common ground, and hopefully there would be, then we can move forward. That's what we ought to do, that's the legislative process, and I think that's what Americans expect us to do.”
On the GOP Appropriations Process
“...I think that the budget that is being proposed is unfortunate, but the appropriations process, [Republicans] have had months to markup bills. They have spent the last three days working well past midnight to pass their bills in a real hurry. They're probably going to finish, I think, all 12 of the appropriations bills [in committee] but they're only going to push forward with four. The reason they're only going to push forward with four, they don't have the votes to do the omnibus that they were talking about with all 12 appropriation bills. As a matter of fact, nor should they move forward. We ought to consider these bills individually, so Members have the opportunity to review them, digest them, and make rational decisions on them. I frankly think that the numbers that are in these bills are unrealistic, but what is really unrealistic is, there is no budget yet, which says what our discretionary number is going to be, how much we can spend discretionary dollars. So that when you vote for four bills, and they are substantially over those dollars, it means the remaining eight bills will be cut very, very substantially. In fact, it's a plan for disinvestment in the domestic side of our budget. We think that's bad policy and bad for our national security. You need to deal both with our defense capabilities, our homeland protection capabilities, but you also need to deal with education, with health care, transportation, infrastructure investment, and other priorities of our society."