House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he doesn’t want to work with Democrats on health care legislation.
“I don’t want that to happen,” Ryan said in an interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell that will air Thursday morning. “You know why? I want a patient-centered system. I don’t want government running health care. The government shouldn’t tell you what you must do with your life, with your health care. We should give people choices.”
Ryan’s comments are not simply a departure from standard bipartisan bromides. They also fly in the face of comments from President Donald Trump in recent days indicating that he would be open to working with Democrats in the wake of the humiliating withdrawal of GOP health care legislation last week before a vote in the House of Representatives.
“I know that we’re all going to make a deal on health care, that’s such an easy one,” Trump told a group of senators on Tuesday night. The Trump administration also has floated the idea of working with Democrats on an infrastructure bill.
Democrats aren’t leaping at the opportunity to help a president with historically low approval ratings, FBI and congressional investigations into his associates’ connections to Russia, and a seemingly thin understanding of policies he’s looking to negotiate.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Politico on Tuesday that Trump “moved so far over to the right that it’s virtually impossible to work with him.”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus said they’d be open to negotiating with Trump, but not unless House Democratic leaders go along. Responding to a report that lobbyists were targeting Congressional Black Caucus members to win votes on tax reform and infrastructure, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said, “Who in the world is going to announce, ‘Oh we’re going to try to siphon off 14-15 Democrats. I mean that is preschool politics.”