Stories began to surface yesterday on the Internet and on talk radio of secret meetings between Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.) and “high-dollar donors” where Corker is reported to have assured these donors that the GOP will not mount an effort to repeal Obamacare.
In a statement to HUMAN EVENTS, Corker Chief of Staff Todd Womack flatly denies that his boss made the statements, saying the meetings have been mischaracterized by anonymous sources.
“The information in the blog post is absolutely false and appears to be an attempt to anonymously mischaracterize Sen. Corker’s strong opposition to the healthcare bill,” Womack said. “Sen. Corker has traveled extensively and hosted dozens of events for Republican candidates running for office this year. He vigorously opposed the healthcare bill that passed in March, has voted to repeal it and has said on numerous occasions that it will cause great damage to our country if it is implemented. During the last two weeks of an outstanding election year, we should not allow misinformation to derail the tremendous momentum we have all worked so hard to achieve.”
The reports also state that Corker assures these donors that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) does not support the repeal.
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart tells HUMAN EVENTS the senator has been unambiguous in his support for repealing Obamacare, citing a recent direct quote from McConnell on an October 7 appearance on the Laura Ingraham radio program.
“It’s the single worst piece of legislation that’s passed since the time I’ve been in the Senate. It’s just been a disaster for the country. How much repealing he’s [the President] willing to sign, I don’t know, but I think we ought to give him the opportunity,” McConnell said.
Stewart also said his office was not contacted for comment before the anonymous reports began to creep into the blogosphere early yesterday. The Davis Intelligence Group did report in a piece late yesterday a quote from Stewart saying his boss supports the repeal — amid claims that there is no zeal in the GOP for repealing the healthcare bill.
According to Newsbusters, “On Tuesday, the Davis Intelligence Group reported that Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.) ‘recently told a group of high-dollar GOP donors that Senate Republicans would not move to fully repeal President Obama’s healthcare law next year, according to multiple sources who attended the event.’”
“The snippet of the subscription-only piece also stated (h/t Mark Levin): ‘The junior senator from Tennessee told the gathering of donors not to worry about the incoming class of “crazier Republicans” because the majority of Senate Republicans, especially minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), had no intention of repealing the president’s healthcare bill. They instead planned to fix only the “bad parts” of the law, Corker reportedly told the group,’” Newsbusters reported.
Corker also stated in an interview with the Davis Intelligence Group today that McConnell has always talked of a “repeal and replace” strategy:
“I believe this health care bill is incredibly damaging to our country. And I believe many Democrats, especially those in my class who are up for election again in 2012, will work with us to repeal the bad parts of this bill,” said Corker.
“But one thing people have got to understand is if we win in the House and get 49 seats in the Senate, or even if we get 51, the public has got to understand that we still don’t have the presidency. We still need 67 votes in the Senate to repeal,” he said.
Corker also objected to DIG’s report about his characterization of Sen. McConnell’s plans to revisit Obamacare. “Mitch has never said anything that wasn’t ‘repeal and replace,'” Corker said. “Every time he talks about this bill, he talks about repealing it and replacing it.”
According to Corker, while defunding the President’s healthcare law presents an interim opportunity aside from repeal to stop the legislation, a pending court case in Virginia against the law represents the best opportunity to block it for good.
“I am most excited about this Virginia court case that has challenged the constitutionality of the health care law on Commerce Clause grounds,” Corker told DIG. “I’m excited about it because I think it’s our best chance right now to block this thing.
Now that the two senators are on the record about a vote and strategy for repeal, there should be no doubt that repealing Obamacare is on the agenda for the 112th Congress.