Ryan Zinke Threatens Senator Murkowski & Alaska Over Health Care Vote
Ever since she voted against opening discussion on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare), Senator Lisa Murkowski has been attacked for her health care votes. Murkowski, a Republican representing Alaska, has been crossing party lines, voting against the GOP's health care plans. Her actions have gotten the president's attention, and now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has threatened Alaska's senators because of it.
On the morning of Wednesday, July 26, President Donald Trump tweeted about Murkowski, saying she "really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday."
Trump was specifically referring to the Tuesday vote to open discussions on repealing Obamacare. Murkowski and Senator Susan Collins of Maine were the only Republican senators to vote against it.
Trump finished his tweet with what could be interpreted as a threat: "Too bad!"
And by Wednesday night, that hint at a threat was fulfilled. The Alaska Dispatch News reported that both Alaska senators got calls from Zinke. Dan Sullivan, the other Alaskan senator, is also a Republican, but voted along with the rest of the GOP on Tuesday.
Sullivan told the Alaska Dispatch News that the call from Zinke had a "troubling message" and it was made clear that the call came because of Murkowski's vote.
"I'm not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs, and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop," he said.
The Department of the Interior is the part of the U.S. government that takes care of nature -- so it's pretty important for a state as big and resource-heavy as Alaska.
Elite Daily reached out to Murkowski and Sullivan's offices, as well as the Interior Department, for comment, but did not hear back at time of publication.
On Wednesday, Murkowski sounded unbothered about Trump's tweet, although she hasn't commented on the Zinke call.
"You know I am comfortable with the decision that I made yesterday in working to advance Alaska's interests and working today to do the same," she said, according to ABC News. "I don't really follow Twitter that much."
Murkowski and other female GOP senators who crossed party lines on health care have gotten threats of physical violence from congressmen for their votes.
For her part, Murkowski said she voted against opening the discussion because she "didn't think that we were ready for the debate." With no agreed-upon health care plan, the Republicans have been considering repealing Obamacare without a replacement. Repealing without a replacement would lead to 32 million people losing insurance by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Murkowski -- along with female GOP senators Collins and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia -- was left out of the Republicans' drafting process for a health care plan. Collins and Murkowski have criticized the GOP's plan, which includes defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Murkowski is also particularly concerned about Medicaid, which a GOP plan may cut. Many Alaskans rely on it for care.
So basically, what's happening is that Murkowski is trying to do what's best for her people, so now the Trump administration is threatening her and the entire state of Alaska. Ain't politics great?