Corker Criticizes Ryan for Not Wanting Trump to Work With Democrats

Tennessee Republican: ‘We have come a long way in our country’

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker appeared to criticize House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in a Thursday tweet. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker appeared to criticize House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in a Thursday tweet. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 30, 2017 at 9:42am

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s pronouncement that he does not want President Donald Trump working with Democrats on health care wasn’t received well by one senior Republican.

Sen. Bob Corker tweeted that “we have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem.”

The Tennessee Republican appeared to be responding to comments the speaker made during an interview that aired Thursday on CBS.

Ryan told “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Norah O’Donnell that it was important for the GOP to come together on a replacement for the 2010 health care overhaul to keep the deal-maker in chief from turning to Democrats for help.

“What I worry about, Norah, is that if we don’t do this, then he’ll just go work with Democrats to try and change Obamacare and that’s not — that’s hardly a conservative thing,” the Wisconsin Republican said. 

“I don’t want that to happen. You know why? I want a patient-centered system. I don’t want government running health care. The government shouldn’t tell you what you must do with your life, with your health care,” Ryan said. “We should give people choices.”

Corker joined with his home-state colleague and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander on Wednesday in proposing a bill that would let people who are stuck without choices of health insurance plans on the exchanges buy into any state-approved plan.

“There are 34,000 Knoxville-area residents who rely on an Affordable Care Act subsidy to purchase insurance, and after the one remaining insurer pulled out of the exchange for 2018, these subsidies are worth as much as bus tickets in a town with no buses running,” Alexander said. “There is also a real prospect that all 230,000 Tennesseans who buy insurance on the exchange — approximately 195,000 with a subsidy — won’t have any plans to buy next year either, and millions of Americans in other states are facing the same dire circumstances.”

Narrower exemptions and fixes like the one proposed Wednesday by the two Tennessee Republicans would need Democratic buy-in to advance, at least in the Senate where the GOP holds well short of the 60 seats needed to overcome filibuster threats and other procedural hurdles.