Murkowski: ‘Where is the focus on policy? Where is the focus on reform?’

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Senate heads into a likely long night of voting and negotiations over something they're calling a "skinny" bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski remains unimpressed and disappointed, she said Thursday afternoon.

Just before an afternoon policy luncheon for GOP senators, Murkowski said that the bill remained "a moving target" when asked whether she had vote plans.

But she had much more to say about her party's overall effort this week.

"Can I just say — look at where we are right now. We're trying to find anything that can collect the requisite number of votes to pass. Where is the focus on policy? Where is the focus on reform? Where is the focus to get the cost down, whether it's the cost of insurance, stabilize the markets, help people that don't have access to coverage because it's too expensive?" Murkowski said.

"So here we are, trying to work ourselves out of a box by trying to find 50 votes," she said.

[Murkowski says she's not swayed by pressure from Trump administration over health vote]

Asked if she thought the Senate could gather the votes necessary to pass an Obamacare repeal of some sort this week, she harkened back to a blistering speech that Arizona Sen. John McCain gave Tuesday afternoon, questioning his party's cooperation.


"We are capable of better than this. The people of this country have asked us to address one of the biggest problems that families face in terms of access to affordable care. And where we're trying to cobble together what we can to get it behind us," Murkowski said.

"I'm just kind of — I'm just disappointed in us as a Senate. I think we are capable of so much, so much more, and so much better."

Erica Martinson

Erica Martinson is a former reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Washington, D.C.