U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told a conservative radio host Friday that he would have supported the GOP’s proposal to replace Obamacare, if it had come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
Buck told KNUS 710-AM’s Steve Kelley that he was “very reluctantly willing to support” the American Health Care Act, in part, because Trump “deserves a honeymoon” after showing his willingness to “work with conservatives.”
Steve Kelley: So, were you going to vote for it?
Ken Buck: You know, I told the Speaker that I didn’t like a bill. I didn’t like the process, but if they needed my vote I would vote for it. I consider myself a lot more conservative than this bill, but I also think it’s important that we get things done. And I also feel like this President deserves a honeymoon. He gave us a great Supreme Court nominee. He gave us a great cabinet. And he has proven that he is willing to work with conservatives, and conservatives should step forward to work with him. And so, I was very reluctantly willing to support this…
Kelley: The idea of, “this [death of the AHCA] may be, in fact, the best thing because it is going to force the issue.” Do you agree with the President on that?
Buck: I think it is going to force the issue. I don’t think it was the best thing. I think the best thing would have been to pass this and also force the issue.
Buck, who’s a member of the House’s ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, joins U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in publicly supporting the GOP’s Obamacare replacement, while the rest of Colorado’s House members didn’t take a public position.
The Freedom Caucus, Buck said on air, was invited to the White House to “go bowling” with Trump, and also to attend “probably a half dozen” meetings and dinners to discuss the health care legislation, but ultimately Trump couldn’t get enough votes needed to pass the GOP bill.
Buck’s comments on KNUS were made from Dulles airport at the end of Friday after the GOP legislation was withdrawn.
On Friday morning, just before the bill was scheduled for a vote, The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews quoted Buck as saying, “I’m reading and I’m trying to gather information and I’m not going to have my arm twisted by anybody.” Matthews tweeted that Buck was undecided.
After the bill failed to come up for a vote, Buck told 9News he “was not completely sold” on it. This led 9News and other Denver outlets to report that Coffman was the only Colorado House Republican to publicly support the Republican legislation.
Buck was not among 33 Republicans identified by the New York Times as opposing the bill and causing its demise. None of Colorado’s Republicans were on the Times’ list.
Listen to Buck on KNUS 710-AM March 24: