A Tennessee Republican senator on Tuesday said he hasn’t yet been shown the GOP bill to repeal and replace major parts of Obamacare that his party’s leadership expects him and his colleagues to vote for next week.
Sen. Bob Corker also said that while he would have liked to have seen a “more open process,” he has a responsibility as a senator to vote on the bill.
“I have not” seen the bill, Corker said when asked about it on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” by political analyst Rick Tyler.
Neither have a number of, if not most, Republican senators whom the GOP is relying on to provide the 50 votes that will be required to pass the bill before the scheduled July 4th recess.
The bill has been drafted in secret by 13 or more senators, without the participation of Democrats, and without any plans to hold committee hearings on its contents once it is released. Obamacare defenders have blasted GOP leaders for that, particularly since Republicans for years have claimed that the Affordable Care Act was rushed through Congress and passed without due deliberation — something Democrats dispute.
Asked if he was concerned that he hasn’t actually been able to read the bill, Corker said, “You know, I’m going to vote for this bill or vote against this bill … based on how it affects people in Tennessee and actually how it affects our nation.”
“And my understanding is I’m going to see it on Thursday,” Corker added.
The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release an analysis of the bill early next week that will estimate how many people would be expected to become uninsured if it becomes law, and how premiums will be affected.
The senator said that he has attended a series of meetings with fellow Republicans to discuss the bill, “so I have a sense of where this is going.”
Asked if he thought there was enough time for the public and senators to review the bill after it is made public and to get a vote, Corker answered, “Well … it looks like the time that’s going to be allotted.”
“I’ll tell you this,” he added. “We will work around the clock to make sure that we understand what’s in it, and we’ll just see.”
“I don’t want to prejudge, and, you know, I would have liked … for this to be a more open process and have committee hearings.”
“But that’s not what we’re doing,” Corker said. “At the end of the day, that doesn’t preclude my responsibilities as a senator to either vote yes or no, based on the substance that’s in it.”
“And I certainly look forward to diving into that substance.”