Bipartisan Group of Senators Had Phone Call on Obamacare Fixes

A bipartisan group of senators chatted on Tuesday night about possible fixes to Obamacare that do not involve repealing the law first. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), a former governor who has been encouraging his fellow Democrats to have conversations with Republicans on health care reform, declined to name the participants on the phone call, but told The Daily Beast it included “Democrats, Republicans, and I think one independent slipped in as well,” he said with a laugh. “I’m more encouraged at this point than I’ve been in quite some while that we might somehow be able to find a road, a path together,” Carper added. The discussion centered around a return to regular order in the Senate—such as holding hearings and proposing amendments—and ideas for stabilizing the insurance exchanges under Obamacare. The phone call comes as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) is attempting to form a bipartisan working group involving governors-turned-senators. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on MSNBC Wednesday morning that he is having similar conversations with Republicans. The discussions underscore the Senate’s attempts to move away from the White House and Republican leadership, amid a scheduled procedural vote next week on a clean Obamacare repeal bill.

—Andrew Desiderio