Murkowski: ObamaCare bill 'needs to be bipartisan'

Murkowski: ObamaCare bill 'needs to be bipartisan'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (R-Alaska) said Wednesday that ObamaCare-related legislation "needs to be bipartisan" following the collapse of GOP efforts to repeal the health-care law this week.

"You know what, I think it needs to be bipartisan and that's why I'm working with Sen. Alexander and Sen. Murray," Murkowski said when asked whether a Republican-only ObamaCare bill could pass next year.

Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up Sunday shows preview: As delta variant spreads, US leaders raise concerns MORE (D-Wash.), respectively the chairman and ranking member on the Senate Health Committee, are looking to restart bipartisan talks on an ObamaCare stabilization bill.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyBipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor The Hill's Morning Report - High-profile COVID-19 infections spark new worries GOP centrists call on Schumer to delay infrastructure vote MORE (R-La.) say they are not giving up on their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare after GOP leaders declined to hold a vote on the legislation this week. The pair are eyeing another push for their bill next year.

Murkowski's vote is critical. She was one of three GOP senators who voted to sink a GOP repeal bill in July, and the Trump administration sought to put pressure on her to vote for the latest repeal bill.

Her comments on Wednesday cast doubt on whether she would vote for the Graham-Cassidy measure next year, which no Democrats support. 

Murkowski has not said she opposes the bill, which dismantles ObamaCare's insurer subsidy program and Medicaid expansion, converting the funding to block grants for states. Instead, the Alaska senator has said she needs more information while praising the general idea of giving more power to states.

The GOP senator said she did not take a position "because we weren't having a vote on it."

"There's some clear fundamentals with what Graham-Cassidy laid down that hey, as a Republican, I can get behind more flexibility, more state control," she said to a small group of reporters. "But the substance matters, the data matters and we had not yet received what Alaska specifically asked for."

Murkowski said the "entire team" of Alaska officials had been with her in Washington for three days going over the bill.