Curbelo: From Hurricane Relief to Fixing the ACA, Colleagues Seem to Always Have an Excuse to Postpone Bipartisanship

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Washington, D.C., October 4, 2017 | comments

Today, during a Ways and Means Committee markup of the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2017 (H.R. 849), which would repeal Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) called out his colleagues who have supported this measure in the past and are now choosing to oppose it for political reasons.

Curbelo, a strong advocate for bipartisanship, called on his colleagues to put politics aside and come together on areas of agreement. Curbelo cited last week’s debate over tax relief for hurricane survivors as yet another examples of the partisan obstructionism that is hurting the ability to get things done in a bipartisan way.

Curbelo: From Hurricane Relief to Fixing the ACA, Colleagues Seem to Always Have an Excuse to Postpone Bipartisanship
Committee on Ways and Means
Washington, D.C.
October 4, 2017

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “Mr. Chairman, is this normal? I’m still kind of new to this Committee, and I understand that Republicans and Democrats have plenty of disagreements with regards to the ACA. But, I think there are some areas of agreement. I think even our Democratic colleagues have recognized some of the flaws in the legislation, and here we have the opportunity to work together to address one of those. And a lot of my Democratic colleagues are on the record as supporting this provision. Yet, we hear every reason why today isn’t the right time.

There’s always a good excuse to postpone bipartisanship and I just don’t understand that. There is a lot of common ground that we can find whether it’s IPAB, whether its cost-sharing reductions, which by the way a lot of Republicans support. The Chairman has spoken about the need to address this definitely in the short term; and it’s just a true shame.

“I do appreciate my colleague bringing up Puerto Rico. It’s personal for me. My wife still has family there – her two brothers were born there. And last week we had an opportunity to work together for Puerto Rico, for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas, Louisiana.  And yet a lot of colleagues went to the floor and again said that it just wasn’t the right time and it just wasn’t enough.

“Well here’s what I’ll say, I’m willing to work with any colleague on this Committee who wants to help the people of Puerto Rico because they really need it. And again for me it’s personal – it hits home. But I think we should also work with the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon was the candidate who received the most votes on the island in the last election and a lot of my colleagues decided to ignore her last week when she was calling for passage of the tax relief bill. That seems cynical to me. It seems wrong.

“So sure, let’s work together, I’m all in. But let’s not just say it, let’s do it. And I think when it comes to Puerto Rico we certainly should. And when it comes to where we agree on the ACA we certainly should.

“Why do we always have to highlight what divides us? For once, let’s focus on what brings us together. And this IPAB issue has brought a lot of Republicans and Democrats together for years now. So let’s put the politics aside and let’s get it done.

“I yield back.”

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