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Arizona Republican Hopes Senators Can Work Together On Health Care


You can make a case that the United States Senate did its job last week. The Senate is designed to slow things down and build consensus. Faced with a hurried vote on a series of one-party health insurance proposals, about which, even many Republicans had doubts, the Senate shot them all down.


The Senate's action does leave at least two big questions, which we'll tackle now. First, how should the health markets change? And second, should Congress do business differently?

MARTIN: Arizona Senator Jeff Flake says Congress should change. He was on the losing side of Thursday's final health care vote.

INSKEEP: When it was over, he said he was ready for a bipartisan approach to the most partisan of issues.

JEFF FLAKE: I don't know about everybody, but I can tell you a good chunk of us were and are. I had discussions with some of my colleagues that I'd worked on a bipartisan basis with on some other issues after this, saying, why can't we do it here?

INSKEEP: OK. Calling for bipartisanship is pretty common. Delivering is less so. As we hear elsewhere this morning, Jeff Flake is author of a book arguing his party has lost its way. And he is among those arguing that it is time to stop trying to jam Republican-only bills through a Republican Congress. There is a process, ignored on health insurance, for sending bills through a committee - you know, like in that old "Schoolhouse Rock!" video.

FLAKE: Typically, at the committee level, you'll get more bipartisanship. People will be willing to reach across the aisle and work out differences. So I hope that that's where we go from here. I don't know where else we go from here.

INSKEEP: How do you think it is that the Republican Party, after decrying the one-party imposition of the Affordable Care Act, would've ended up in the situation they've been in the last few months of trying a one-party solution to the very same issue.

FLAKE: Well, I mean, to be fair, the Democrats haven't been exactly cooperative here. I think that they believe, you know, hey, let's let them reap the whirlwind. Having said that, I think, you know, it's incumbent on the party that's in charge to look for ways that we can work together.

INSKEEP: Now some Democrats say they're willing to talk with Republicans. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.