×

'Let's bury the political hatchets' and get to work, says moderate Democratic senator

  • "Good policy is good politics," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp argued, acknowledging Obamacare definitely needs some fixes.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday called for an early next week vote on a motion to start the process of repealing Obamacare.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told CNBC on Wednesday that it's time for Republicans and Democrats to work together on health care.

"Let's bury the political hatchets, and let's start doing our job here," she said.

The moderate Democrat from North Dakota appeared on "Squawk Box," a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for an early next week vote on a motion to pave the way for action on a bill to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan. But with opposition from at least four Republican senators, approval of such a move appears unlikely.

The GOP only has a four-seat majority in the Senate.

Republican lawmakers working on health care should reach across the aisle, and they should seek input from both GOP and Democratic state governors who would ultimately play a major role in implementing any changes to health-care policy, Heitkamp said.

"Good policy is good politics," she argued, acknowledging the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, definitely needs some fixes.

Heitkamp, who won her seat in the 2012 election, was not in the Senate when the ACA was signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama. She previously served as North Dakota's attorney general and tax commissioner.

On tax reform, Heitkamp wants more details. "I used to be the tax commissioner so I know a little bit about it, but I say, 'Tell me what it is,'" she urged. "I'm going to evaluate whatever proposal comes my way based on what's good for my state, and what makes fiscally responsible sense in Washington, D.C., and for the country."

Looking ahead to 2018 midterm election and the 2020 presidential election, Heitkamp said Democrats need to do a better job of telling American voters what the party stands for and how it plans to improve their lives. Democrats hope to capitalize on President Donald Trump's legislative stumbles and unorthodox approach.

"[But] the overarching discussion for the Democratic Party is not there. Frequently, that role is filled by someone who is the presumptive [presidential] nominee. We don't have that," she added. "We're in this process of seeing opportunity for anyone to step up."

Morning Squawk: CNBC's before the bell news roundup

Sign up to get Morning Squawk each weekday

Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and service. Privacy Policy.
Please enter a valid email address