Has Cathy McMorris Rodgers given up on repealing Obamacare? A spokeswoman for the Washington state Republican House member and chair of the GOP conference says the congresswoman still supports repeal, despite a report from a Spokane newspaper that characterized her as saying that repeal of the law was unlikely.
"The Congresswoman believes Obamacare's government-centered, one-size fits all approach is not working, and will never work on multiple fronts, which is why she has voted numerous times to repeal it and will continue to work to repeal it at every opportunity," read a statement from the McMorris Rodgers's office. "Until the President and Democrats in Congress join Republicans in fully repealing this unworkable law, her mission is to continue protecting as many Americans as possible from its harmful effects until it is dismantled and replaced with needed reforms focused on patient-centered health care. The debate over health care will continue and the Congresswoman will support reforms to restore decision making to individuals and families so that America continues to lead the world in access to quality and affordable healthcare."
McMorris Rodgers's comments initially came in an editorial meeting with the Spokane Spokesman-Review late last week. The congresswoman told the paper: "We need to look at reforming the exchanges."
While the story paraphrased McMorris Rodgers as saying that repeal of Obamacare was unlikely, there was no direct quote from the congresswoman indicating that. Asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD if there was an audio recording of the meeting to provide full context, spokeswoman Riva Litman said she did not have one. Litman did not deny that McMorris Rodgers said repeal was unlikely, nor did she clarify what the congresswoman meant by that.
Update: Kip Hill, the Spokesman-Review reporter who wrote the original story, tells TWS that there was no recording of the interview with the paper's editorial board. Asked to explain his story's characterization that McMorris Rodgers says repeal of Obamacare isn't likely, Hill referred to his notes. One member of the editorial board asked the congresswoman, "Is Obamacare here to stay?" and, according to Hill, McMorris Rodgers replied, "Probably."
McMorris Rodgers's office has argued that the headline of the story, "McMorris Rodgers says ACA likely to stay" is "not an accurate or representative portrayal of what the congresswoman said in the interview."
The congresswoman's office has not yet responded to a request for comment on the Spokesman-Review reporter's claim.