Apr 26, 2017

Senate Dems stonefaced on ACA insurer subsidies

Alex Brandon / AP

Senate Democrats were noncommittal today when asked if the removal of ACA insurer subsidies was a deal-breaker for any spending bill ahead of this weekend's possible government shutdown. One common refrain on the Hill today: it's an executive branch issue — and it's up to the Trump administration to fund the subsidies.

Between the lines: The comments suggest that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi isn't getting a lot of support from her Senate colleagues as she tries to push the Trump administration to include the subsidies. Senate Democrats aren't voicing a willingness to trigger a shutdown over insurer subsidies. Their play right now looks to be to make it Trump's problem while avoiding getting the blood of a shutdown on their hands.

A view across the Senate Democratic spectrum — from leadership to moderate to liberal:

  • Minority Whip Dick Durbin: "It's a disappointment because it puts in jeopardy health insurance for 7 million Americans."
  • Sen. Patty Murray, member of leadership: "[Trump] can do it from an administrative point of view as they always have — not fight it in the courts — and continue the stability of the markets."
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill: "First of all, this is a responsibility of the executive branch. It's mandatory spending. I don't know why this has been turned into an appropriation problem."
  • Sen. Chris Murphy: "I don't buy the idea that the only way this gets done is if it's in the budget. The president ultimately has the power to allocate this money and I don't think Trump is going to take the blame for 7 million people losing their insurance because he refuses to allocate the money."

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