U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, a freshman congressman who previously served as President of the Arizona State Senate, said despite the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he expects action on this issue after the congressional break.
“Something is going to get done, and I would imagine that it’s going to happen fairly quickly after this break because I know that those talks are going on every day, and I’ve received conference calls reporting on what’s happening,” Biggs said.
U.S. Kyrsten Sinema, who joined Biggs in a forum sponsored by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, said the original bill rolled out by House Speaker Paul Ryan, the American Health Care Act, was “bad.”
“It was basically Obamacare but worse,” she said.
Sinema, a member the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, said bipartisanship is the most effective way to pass health care reform.
“If (Ryan) wants to get something done, there is a group of Blue Dogs that are willing to do this,” Sinema said. “And we are fiscally conservative Democrats that are willing to find market-based solutions, and I think it would make a lot of sense for him to come and talk to us.”
Obamacare’s problem, she said, was it passed without bipartisan support.
“And it is going to be the problem with the effort to replace it,” she said, noting that any major legislation that lasts usually have buy-in from both parties.
Sinema also talked about how she predicted that Donald Trump would win the House as early as last April, which she said was based on what she was hearing from constituents during her regular outreach events.
“2016 was the year of the middle finger voter,” Sinema said. “People were angry, and they were upset and they weren’t going to take it anymore and they were willing to tell the government exactly that.”
Sinema likened Hillary Clinton’s campaign to trying to get Americans to eat their vegetables, while Donald Trump invited everybody to a raucous party.
“Hillary Clinton had 20,000 binders of policy and a plate of peas that she wanted all of you to eat – with no dessert. Her campaign was, ‘America eat your peas,’” Sinema said. “And meanwhile, Donald Trump was like, ‘I’m going to have a party. There are strippers and cocaine.’ And people were like, ‘I want to go to that party.’”
“So what has happened is there is actually no party,” Sinema continued. “Trump said that we were going to get all the jobs back, and it’s going to be great. And that’s just probably not going to be realistic. We are going to create other jobs in new markets, but we aren’t going to get all those old jobs back.”
Biggs said Trump could have delivered immediately on some of his campaign promises.
“If he were to have run a straight (Obamacare) repeal out, he would have had enough votes, including (support from) the Tuesday Group. I think they would have all voted for it,” Biggs said.
Tuesday Group is a coalition of centrist lawmakers.
Biggs also said that some of the foreign policy shifts added a layer of complication to Trump’s legislative agenda.
“If we don’t rehabilitate the agenda, 2018 is going to be a cold year,” he said.