On Sunday, in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” hosted by Jake Tapper, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) claimed although he’d be open to working with Republicans on “fixing” Obamacare, “Republicans cannot just force this down our throats.”
Tapper asked Booker if he had “an obligation” to work with Republicans in Congress on a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.
“Look, Republicans are going to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Tapper. “It’s happening. And they have a president who will sign them into law. Don’t you, as a member of the Senate, have an obligation to get in there, join them and try to improve the bill?”
“Well, I mean that’s really where we are,” Booker responded. “The Republicans cannot just force this down our throats. It’s going to knock a lot of folks off, hurt long-term care, hurt good working-class folks. So, I don’t understand this, almost. I don’t understand their political strategy, because this is bad politics. But deeper than that, this is bad policy and bad process.”
Booker’s suggestion Republicans cannot “force” a repeal and replacement of the ACA is patently false. Republicans currently have control of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency, and Republicans have said they plan to use the budget reconciliation process—which allows Republicans to avoid filibuster rules in the Senate—to pass numerous reforms of the ACA.
If Booker’s claim was meant to be taken as a moral imperative, he’d also find himself on wobbly ground. The Democrats passed the ACA in 2010 without a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate.
Booker has been one of the Democratic Party’s leaders in its fight against Republican plans to repeal and replace the ACA.
“This shouldn’t be about politics,” said Booker in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” in January. “This is about real people in America who will be hurt immediately.”
In the “Face the Nation” interview, Booker said any Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan in place would be comparable to “shoving someone off a cliff.”
“This is akin to shoving someone off a cliff and as they’re falling down, saying ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to figure this out before you get to the bottom,’” Booker said.