sunny.png
Sunday May 19th, 2019 8:39AM

Koch chief says health care bill insufficiently conservative

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

COLORADO SPRING, Colo. (AP) — Chief lieutenants in the Koch brothers' political network lashed out at the Senate Republican health care bill on Saturday as not conservative enough, becoming a powerful outside critic as GOP leaders try to rally support for their plan among rank-and-file Republicans.

Tim Phillips, who leads Americans For Prosperity, the Koch network's political arm, called the Senate's plans for Medicaid "a slight nip and tuck" of President Barack Obama's health care law, a modest change he described as "immoral."

"This Senate bill needs to get better," Phillips said. "It has to get better."

Some Republican senators have raised concern about cuts to Medicaid, which provides health care coverage to millions of poor and middle-income Americans. Several more conservative senators have voiced opposition because they feel it does not go far enough in dismantling what they call "Obamacare."

The comments came on the first day of a three-day private donor retreat at a luxury resort in the Rocky Mountains. Invitations were extended only to donors who promise to give at least $100,000 each year to the various groups backed by the Koch brothers' Freedom Partners — a network of education, policy and political entities that aim to promote small government.

"When I look at where we are at the size and effectiveness of this network, I'm blown away," billionaire industrialist Charles Koch told hundreds of donors during an outdoor evening reception. His brother, David Koch, looked on from the crowd along with Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

"We've got to keep doing it at an accelerated pace," Charles Koch said.

No outside group has been move aggressive over the yearslong push to repeal Obama's health care law than the Kochs', who vowed on Saturday to spend another 10 years fighting to change the health care system if necessary. The Koch network has often displayed a willingness to take on Republicans — including President Donald Trump — when their policies aren't deemed conservative enough.

Network spokesman James Davis said the organization would continue to push for changes to the Senate health care bill over the coming week.

"At the end of the day, this bill is not going to fix health care," Davis declared.

The network's wishes are backed by a massive political budget that will be used to take on Republican lawmakers, if necessary, Phillips said.

He described the organization's budget for policy and politics heading into the 2018 midterm elections as between $300 million and $400 million. "We believe we're headed to the high end of that range," he said.

On Friday, Nevada Republican Dean Heller became the fifth GOP senator to declare his opposition to the Senate health care proposal. Echoing the other four, Heller said he opposes the measure "in this form" but does not rule out backing a version that is changed to his liking.

Heller, facing a competitive re-election battle next year, said he was opposing the legislation because of the cuts it would make in Medicaid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he's willing to alter the measure to attract support, and promised plenty of back-room bargaining as he tries pushing a final package through his chamber next week.

Republican leaders have scant margin for error. Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, McConnell can afford to lose just two of the 52 GOP senators and still prevail.

At least two of the current opponents, Lee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, were among 18 elected officials scheduled to attend the Koch retreat. Two more undecideds were also on the guest list: Flake and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse.

President Donald Trump continued to push for replacing Obama's health care law, tweeting Saturday: "I cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!"

The Senate measure resembles legislation the House approved last month that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said would mean 23 million additional uninsured people within a decade and that recent polling shows is viewed favorably by only around 1 in 4 Americans.

Charles Koch and his chief lieutenants met privately with Vice President Mike Pence for nearly an hour Friday. Pence, a longtime Koch ally, was in Colorado Springs to address a gathering of religious conservatives.

Phillips said it was "a cordial discussion" about policy, but that neither side asked the other for anything specific.

Also Saturday, retired football star Deion Sanders announced plans to partner with the Kochs to help fight poverty in Dallas.

The unlikely partnership aims to raise $21 million over the next three years to fund anti-poverty programs in the city where Sanders once played football. The outspoken athlete also defended Koch, who is often demonized by Democrats, as someone simply "trying to make the world a better place."

"I'm happy where I am and who I'm with because we share a lot of the same values and goals," Sanders said when asked if he'd be willing to partner with organizations on the left.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Al Capone song, pocket watch fetch over $100K at auction
Artifacts connected to some of the nation's most notorious gangsters have sold for more than $100,000
6:22PM ( 15 minutes ago )
LSU beats Oregon State 6-1 to reach CWS finals
Caleb Gilbert held LSU to two hits in 7 1/3 innings, Michael Papierski homered from both sides of the plate and LSU beat No. 1 national seed Oregon State 6-1 to reach the College World Series finals
6:00PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Tony Kanaan back on familiar IndyCar ground at Road America
Tony Kanaan feels like a veteran again this weekend at Road America after being treated like a rookie last week at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
5:54PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Now in Washington, Melania Trump still no social butterfly
Just weeks into full-time residency at White House, first lady Melania Trump remains outside the social whirl of Washington
5:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
Yemen to probe alleged interrogation abuses by UAE, US
Yemen's internationally-recognized government has created a committee to investigate allegations of human rights violations, following reports U.S. military interrogators worked UAE forces accused of torturing detainees in Yemen
5:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK Parliament investigates cyberattack on user accounts
British officials are investigating a cyberattack on the country's Parliament after discovering "unauthorized attempts to access parliamentary user accounts."
4:31PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
5 GOP senators now oppose health care bill as written
A total of five Republican senators are now opposing the Senate GOP health care bill, yet they remain open to changes in measure
11:09AM ( 7 hours ago )
Trump approves $2B sale of drones to India ahead of meeting
India wins approval from the Trump administration for the purchase of nearly two dozen unarmed surveillance drones
2:51AM ( 15 hours ago )
Consumer issues stemming from the GOP health care initiative
Major issues for consumers as Republicans pursue their health care initiative
2:50AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Polish protesters demand halt to logging in primeval forest
Hundreds have marched in Warsaw to protest widespread logging in Europe's last primeval forest, a project undertaken by Poland's conservative government
5:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK finds 34 high-rise apartment buildings with unsafe siding
British authorities say 34 high-rise apartment blocks across the country have cladding that has failed fire safety tests
4:12PM ( 2 hours ago )
Conference: US mayors may shape national climate policy
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says national policy on climate change will emerge from U.S. cities, now that President Donald Trump has withdrawn the country from the Paris climate accords
3:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Al Capone song, pocket watch fetch over $100K at auction
Artifacts connected to some of the nation's most notorious gangsters have sold for more than $100,000
6:22PM ( 16 minutes ago )
LSU beats Oregon State 6-1 to reach CWS finals
Caleb Gilbert held LSU to two hits in 7 1/3 innings, Michael Papierski homered from both sides of the plate and LSU beat No. 1 national seed Oregon State 6-1 to reach the College World Series finals
6:00PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Tony Kanaan back on familiar IndyCar ground at Road America
Tony Kanaan feels like a veteran again this weekend at Road America after being treated like a rookie last week at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
5:54PM ( 43 minutes ago )
White Sox retire former star pitcher Buehrle's No. 56 jersey
The Chicago White Sox have held a pregame ceremony to retire the No. 56 jersey worn by former star pitcher Mark Buehrle
5:42PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Concert in Utah park honors man killed in London attack
The life of a Utah man who ran a recording studio before he was killed in a high-profile attack London attack was celebrated Saturday with the local music he loved
5:39PM ( 59 minutes ago )