In a conference call with reporters, Roe said he’s corresponded with Corker, who said he won’t run for re-election in 2018, since the feud broke out.
“He is a friend,” Roe, R-Tenn., said of Corker, a Chattanooga Republican. “He has been since he ran in 2006 and it’s unfortunate that this Twitter war has broken out. We’ve got a lot of issues, and I didn’t even mention tax reform, which is a huge issue that we’re in the middle of doing right now. Certainly the president will need Senator Corker’s help ... and his ideas about getting that across the finish line.
“I hope both of them would put their phones up. We’ve got enough to do up here.”
Roe also responded to the following questions:
What is the state of the Senate Republican Conference? Why can’t they pass anything?
“This is my frustration. With the 60-vote cloture rule they have, it’s almost impossible to govern … if you don’t have something with overwhelming bipartisan support, you can’t get it passed into law. We’ve got 270 bills sitting over there in the United States Senate that (the House) passed … if it was a simple majority vote, they could get passed in the Senate but they can’t because it takes 60 votes. Unless the Senate changes its rules, you’re going to continue to see this difficulty in governing in the country … Speaker (Paul) Ryan has done everything asked of him.”
How is the president’s executive order allowing health insurance to be bought across state lines going to work out?
“I think that will help the market dramatically and help people who currently don’t get a subsidy and buy some insurance that is actually affordable. It also expands the short-term limited duration insurance for people who are not getting a subsidy, but are now paying a penalty because they can’t afford insurance. They will have access to a much cheaper source of insurance … this year we think half of the counties will have one (provider) option. We were fortunate Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee … if they hadn’t stepped up, we would have no coverage. One option is not competition.”
Selling insurance across state lines hasn’t worked out in the past. What will be different this time?
“You’d still have to comply with state insurance commissioners. You couldn’t discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. You couldn’t exclude based on health situations. It’s just going to offer more competition in the market that we don’t have right now.”
Are you optimistic the Senate will try to revive its Obamacare repeal/replace bill?
“I am not optimistic. They couldn’t get 50 votes on a skinny bill. I don’t see a way … I know that’s why the president went ahead with this executive order to fill that void that he hears every day.”