After a marathon Senate session that resulted in defeat for efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Delaware’s U.S. Senators hope to see compromise win the day in the months ahead.
There wasn’t much sleep to be had for Delaware’s senior U.S. Senator Tom Carper. He laid down on the couch in his office after 3 a.m. to catch some rest following the overnight vote. Not long after, a cleaning crew came into his office in the 4 a.m. hour. Despite the lack of sleep, Carper was back in Wilmington Friday morning weighing in on the wild night in Washington.
“This is about as important as anything we’re going to do,” Carper said of the legislation that would impact every American and affect about one sixth of the nation’s economy. “I wasn’t looking for a Democratic victory or a Republican defeat, or a Trump victory. What we need is a victory for the American people, and what they want us to do is work together, and now we have the opportunity to do that, which is terrific.”
Carper said President Trump is becoming less relevant to issues in Congress, in part because of his constant tweeting, but also due to the way he’s treated Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain. “During the campaign last year, he attacked John McCain, a war hero … Donald Trump attacked John McCain as a loser,” Carper said. “I think when the votes were counted early this morning it was clear who was the loser, and it was not John McCain.”
He said the odds have gone up dramatically for the possibility of getting bipartisan support to fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act after last night’s vote. “I’ve talked to any number of republican colleagues after the vote last night who said to me, let’s work together,” Carper said. “There’s an undercurrent of goodwill and affection between Democrats and Republicans and Independents in the Senate and now I think we can tap into that.”
Delaware’s other U.S. Senator Chris Coons agreed. “I’m making proposals this coming week for ways that we could work together in a bipartisan way, many other senators are going to put bills together in the coming week,” Coons said. He said there are definitely things that need to be fixed in the ACA. “It has cost more than was expected, and in many states, the ACA exchanges aren’t sustainable, there’s only one insurance company now in Delaware, as there are in at least a dozen other states.”
Coons also concurred with Carper’s assessment of President Trump’s dwindling influence in Congress. “President Trump was more eager for a partisan political win, then a real solution, a number of Republican Senators said that’s not what we’re interested in.”
Coons expects the ACA reform effort to return to congressional health and finance committees for debate this fall.