Administration

Zinke shares beers with Murkowski after alleged threats following healthcare vote

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke shared a picture of him drinking a beer with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Thursday, after reports surfaced that the secretary threatened to cut economic development funds in the Alaska over her vote on the healthcare bill.

“I say dinner, she says brews. My friends know me well. Thanks Lisa Murkowski,” Zinke tweeted while including picture of them both holding Alaskan brand beers. 

The tweet comes after reports surfaced claiming Zinke made thinly veiled threats to Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) during a phone call last week in an effort to pressure them to vote for the GOP replacement plan for ObamaCare.

Sullivan told a local news outlet that the secretary sent a “pretty clear” message to the two Alaskan lawmakers that the administration could go after the state’s economic development efforts if they did not vote the right way.

{mosads}Zinke brushed off the claims, calling the reports “laughable.”

“The moon has been characterized as a threat, too, so I think it’s laughable,” Zinke said after being asked about the alleged threats, according to E&E News. He added that he speaks with the Alaskan lawmakers often and that they “get along well.”

Murkowski also downplayed the matter, telling reporters last week that Zinke relayed that President Trump “was not pleased” with her decision to vote against the GOP healthcare measure.

The allegations have led Democratic lawmakers Reps. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.) to ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and inspector general to investigate Zinke’s calls to Murkowski and Sullivan. 

Tags Lisa Murkowski Ryan Zinke

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