BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she’s open to working with Republicans to improve former President Barack Obama’s health care law after a GOP replacement bill failed to gather enough support.
The Massachusetts Democrat said she’s also open to supporting a government-run “single payer” proposal.
“If the question is, ‘Can we make the Affordable Care Act better,’ and we can find some Republican colleagues to do that, absolutely. We should do what we can to improve it,” Warren said Monday following a speech to business leaders in Boston.
“If we’re talking about tearing down the health care system and starting over, then I think every option needs to be on the table, and single-payer sure ought to be at the top of the list,” added Warren, who is scheduled to appear Friday at an event in Boston with Democratic U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a single-payer backer.
MassGOP Chairman Kirsten Hughes said Warren is “more focused on appeasing national liberal activists than advancing the interests of the commonwealth.”
Warren also renewed her opposition to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
She said if Gorsuch can’t win the needed 60 votes in the Senate, Republicans need a new nominee rather than lowering the threshold to a simple majority of 51.
“I am definitely a no on changing the rules,” she said. “If this nominee cannot attract 60 votes you don’t change the rule, you change the nominee.”
Warren also called Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental protections “reckless.”
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said Trump will sign an executive order to undo an Obama-era regulation restricting greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.
“The idea that somehow America is going to be a stronger country if it’s harder to breathe the air and drink the water makes no sense,” Warren said.
Warren also faulted the Trump administration’s promised crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday warned cities they could lose federal money for refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities, suggesting the government would come after grant money that already has been awarded.
Warren said that’s both unconstitutional and bad for Massachusetts, which relies on international travel to boost local colleges, encourage tourism and support the state’s “innovation economy.”
“You can go straight to the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act that says the federal government cannot use the threat of withholding assets or access to federal money in one area in order to coerce behavior in another area,” she said.
Warren also criticized the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee after his spokesman said he met on the White House grounds with the source of a claim that communications involving Trump’s associates were caught up in “incidental” surveillance.
“What Congressman Nunes did made it clear that we need a special prosecutor, we need an independent commission,” Warren said. “Whatever credibility he and his house committee might have had he burned in a giant bonfire on the front lawn of the White House when he ran over to leak to Donald Trump what was going on in that investigation.”
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