Interviews

Rep. Ken Buck on August recess: The optics are bad

Colorado Republican on growing calls for lawmakers to stay in Washington to work on health care reform

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 3, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The reason why they're even contemplating that is because time is a wasting, and so are the days, just 33 potential working days left until the end of the fiscal year. That's in the United States Senate, few than that in the House.

Now some Republican lawmakers want to scrap that recess, to Ed's point, and try to move fast on these items.

Colorado Republican Congressman joining me right now Ken Buck.

Congressman, very good to have you.

What is the likelihood you guys will be working through, let's say, August?

REP. KEN BUCK, R-COLO.: Well, I think the likelihood is probably not great.

I would like to see us working through August. I think the American people expect us to finish health care, to finish frankly the tax reform bill, which won't be done by the end of August, to do a budget, to do appropriation bills. And to have us leave, it's certainly not a vacation. I have got dozens of meetings set up with constituents in August in my district.

But it certainly looks like a vacation in August. And the optics are bad and the reality is bad.

CAVUTO: But who makes that call, Congressman, if you guys are going to stay behind and work in Washington?

BUCK: The leadership in the House and the leadership in the Senate.

And, frankly, the Senate has even more work to do, because they have to confirm the nominations. We don't have an administration place in yet for President Trump to do his job. So -- but the leadership in the House and Senate will make that decision.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the quicker decision on health care will be to repeal, put up a vote to repeal Obamacare, much as was done back in 2015 in the Senate? That passed with all Republicans in favor of doing so, except Susan Collins of Maine, if memory serves me right, but that the numbers are still there, at least in the Senate?

Do you agree with that approach? Because you guys seem -- not you particularly, sir, but so divided on how to proceed from here with an alternative plan?

BUCK: We made a promise to the American people. And if we can't come to an agreement on repeal and replace, I think we have got to repeal.

I have we have got to go to the table and do our best to work with Democrats and make sure that we replace the Affordable Care Act with a market-based solution.

And we have talked a lot about what that looks like. But I think the American people need some relief. And this repeal would give America some relief.

CAVUTO: How would it grant some relief? You could argue, for the people who already have it, that would somewhat disruptive, to put it mildly.

So what kind of protections in a repeal vote would be there for those who already have it?

BUCK: Well, the timing is the most important thing.

It is not is if it would be repealed starting August 1.

CAVUTO: Instantly, right.

BUCK: It would be repealed down the road in 2018, and would give us a time to...

CAVUTO: When would the taxes associated with it be repealed? Would that also be put off?

BUCK: I think the taxes have to be repealed right away. And I think we have to be realistic about the great burden that both the Affordable Care Act and the taxes have put on the American people.

CAVUTO: All right, the president has since come back to refer to the House measure as mean. How did you feel about that?

BUCK: Well, I don't think it's mean. I disagree.

I think it's realistic. And I think what is mean is to force the American people to live under the Affordable Care Act for any longer.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you for taking the time. We appreciate it.

BUCK: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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