Interviews

Rep. Farenthold: President Trump is a great persuader

On 'Your World,' the Republican congressman explains why he went from a 'no' on the health bill to 'leaning yes'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 17, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TRISH REGAN, GUEST HOST:  Well, my next guest was at that meeting with the president today, and he says he was actually leaning no on the health care bill until today.  He's leaning yes.  

Texas Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold is with me right now.  

Good to have you here, Congressman.  

So, why the change of heart?

REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD, R-TEXAS:  Top of the afternoon, Trish.

President Trump is really a great persuader.  But the fact of the matter is, every Republican ran on repealing ObamaCare.  And if you get down to the bottom line, it's the plan that the president supports that's eventually going to be signed into law.  

We, as conservatives, need to work to make the bill better.  We did that today with the president.  And we're going to keep doing it until it's eventually signed into law.  We get another bite at the apple at the Senate, and we're going to keep going.  

REGAN:  What were the tweaks and changes that you were able to accomplish that made you feel like this is the one you want to support?  

FARENTHOLD:  Well, there are two things that moved me over.  

One is, we're giving more power to the states.  We're block-granting them money, giving them the opportunity to innovate and giving them the opportunity to require able-bodied, childless adults to work.  That's something we have always believed in as conservatives, that our system is there to give you a hand up, not a handout.  

And the other piece of it is, this is Donald Trump's plan.  He ran on repealing ObamaCare.  This is something he said he was 1000 percent behind. And if we're going to get it done, we're going to need the president's help.  And if this is how he's going to do it, more power to him.

REGAN:  See, Congressman, this is interesting.  I think that you may see an increasing number of lawmakers following your thought process here.  

In other words, the alternative is not an alternative that you or your constituents are going to like, in that the continuation of ObamaCare.  So at some point, it becomes a choice between what the president wants and what he was elected to do and the old way.  Right?  

FARENTHOLD:  When I ran in 2010, it was because I wanted to get rid of ObamaCare.  And I have been fighting for it every day I have been in Congress.  

We now have a president who is going to make it happen.  And I agree with you 100 percent.  It's his backing and his pushing that is going to push it along the line.  ObamaCare is going to implode on itself.  But if it does that, and we don't catch it soon, there going to be more people suffering.  

We want an orderly transition back to a market-based system, where you can get insurance through work, you can get insurance through the private market for yourself that's cost-effective, that you can afford and with deductibles you can afford.  

REGAN:  So, you came around, others have come around.  But not everybody has come around.

Where do you see Representative Jordan on this and some other folks?  Are they eventually going to get there?  

FARENTHOLD:  I think the president is going to work with them.  

The folks -- listen, everybody is holding out to get a better bill.  But at some time, you're going to have to come around and say I'm going to vote for something, rather than nothing.  

And you promised, as a Republican, and I promised as a Republican, that we're going to repeal this thing.  And this is the vehicle to do it.  You can get on it now, or you can get on it next week.  

(LAUGHTER)

REGAN:  It's good to have you here, Representative.  Appreciate you taking the time.

FARENTHOLD:  Great talking to you, Trish.  

END

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