Sen. Bob Corker has not yet seen the health care legislation currently being crafted by his Republican colleagues, the Tennessee lawmaker said Tuesday, but he expects to get his hands on it Thursday and looks forward “to diving into that substance” of the bill.
Senate Republicans have kept a tight lid on their efforts to write legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, creating it via a working group and keeping the language a secret even from other GOP senators. Corker told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he expects the legislation to be made public on Thursday and for a vote to take place roughly a week later.
The process, which has not included hearings before the relevant Senate committees, is not what Corker would have preferred, he said. But he still intends to judge the legislation based on its merits.
“I’ll tell you this. We will work around the clock to make sure that we understand what’s in it, and we’ll just see,” he said. “I don’t want to prejudge, and, you know, I would have liked, as you already know, for this to be a more open process and to have committee hearings, but that’s not what we’re doing. 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.”
While Corker was cautiously critical of his party’s process for the repeal-and-replace measure, Senate Democrats have loudly complained about a lack of transparency, staging a talk-a-thon on the Senate floor on Monday.
Corker stopped short of saying that the planned week will provide enough time for lawmakers to understand the health care proposal from Senate Republicans. But his GOP colleagues have kept him in the loop, Corker said, such that “I have a sense of where this is going and understand the rubs that exist.”
"I am going to vote for this bill or vote against this bill determined based on how it affects people in Tennessee, and actually how it affects our nation,” he said. “I have a sense of where this is going, and I know that, you know, the leadership is having various aspects of this scored, and it should be out there, it looks like, about a week before a vote takes place. I think it’s planned to be out, language and all, on Thursday.”