Interviews

Rep. Labrador says he is still a 'no' on the health bill

House Freedom Caucus member says 'nobody likes this bill'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, a man who is at the epicenter of this battle as well. You hear so much about that Freedom Caucus.

Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador.

Now, he was a no vote heading into this meeting with the president.

Where are you now, sir?

REP. RAUL LABRADOR, R-IDAHO: I'm still a no, Neil.

CAVUTO: Why?

LABRADOR: Because we haven't been able to reach a point where the health care market is actually going to improve.

Our biggest concern in the Freedom Caucus is to make sure that health care costs go down and health insurance premiums go down. This bill doesn't accomplish that. It's a good first step. And they're talking about phase one, phase two, phase three.

But we're just not as confident that phase two and three are going to go through. So, we need to get this bill right. We promised the American people that we're going to repeal ObamaCare, we're going to replace it market-driven forces, we're going to replace it with a good bill that actually brought health care down.

And this bill doesn't do that. But I think we're almost there. The president has been acting in good faith, has been negotiating with our leadership. And I think we're going to get there, but we need -- we're still not where we need to be.

CAVUTO: How close do you think are? Do you think, if there is a vote tomorrow, it would pass? Are you close to ironing out those differences?

LABRADOR: Well, not yet. That's why I believe that the vote was postponed yet. So I think we're going to have a very long night.

CAVUTO: I can't see it suddenly correcting itself in the next 12 hours.
Can you?

LABRADOR: Well, we're going to wait on that. And if it doesn't work tonight, we may have to wait tomorrow or maybe have to wait until Monday.

The reality is that this is an artificial deadline. The reason we wanted to do it today was symbolic, which was good symbolism. But there's no need for this bill to come together. I overheard what you were saying during the intro and the people you were talking to.

There's no -- it's not necessary -- that what we want in the Freedom Caucus actually affects other people in the conference. We should all get together at the same room and talk about what we can do to improve this health care bill.

And I think we can get together with members of the Tuesday Group, with the RSC, with leadership, and actually make this bill improve and get it to a place where all of us are proud of it.

The problem that we have right now, Neil, is that nobody likes this bill. They're just voting for it because their leadership is asking them to do it. Can we get to a bill that the American people like?

The majority of Americans don't like the bill. The majority of Republicans in our districts don't like this bill. Let's make it a bill that we can all be proud of.

CAVUTO: Well, Americans really don't know what the heck is in this bill, to be fair.

LABRADOR: That's a good point.

CAVUTO: What I would be, curious, though, Congressman, is, do you think that if it gets to be still divisive among all of you guys, that you can't quite agree on a compromise here, that you shelve this and proceed on to the comprehensive tax reform, tax cuts? What do you think?

LABRADOR: I think we could do that, but I don't think we're there yet.

I think we need to try to fix this bill. Let's get us all in the room. If we need to stay here this weekend, negotiate for 24 hours, 48 hours, make sure that we do things.

We have been asking for that for a long time. I think we can come to terms with different factions of the Republican Conference. What is happening is that our leadership likes to pit one group against another. They say, if the Freedom Caucus gets one thing, then the Tuesday Group is not going to get something else.

I actually think, if we're all in the same room negotiating, we can get to a solution that would make...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Do you ever meet with the Tuesday Group? It sounds like you guys are talking past each other.

LABRADOR: Well, we try to meet with them. We have talked with them. We have invited them. I know that our chairman is going to be talking to some of the members of the Tuesday Group.

CAVUTO: Right.

LABRADOR: But I believe, if our leadership put us all in the room and we started working and negotiating on this, I think we can come together on a solution then that gets every American excited.

CAVUTO: Congressman, I know you have had very little sleep. Thank you very, very much for joining us.

END

 

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