Democrat Rep. Cuellar Calls for Changes to Health Care; GOP ‘Can Find Democrats’ to Work With

By Eliza

Jan 20, 2011 1:49pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:

Today on ABC News’ Top Line, Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar said that this week’s debate over the health care repeal bill was “more civil” than past debates on the issue, but he still feels that changes need to be made to the law, including tort reform.

“I think if we sit down and say ok we all agree on certain provisions, now let’s look at the ones we don't agree on and let’s see if we can make some changes,” he said. “They can find Democrats willing to work on some provisions instead of just repealing them and not having something in place to substitute it with." 

Cuellar distanced himself from his colleague Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) remarks comparing Republican rhetoric with Nazi propaganda, saying Cohen should have been more careful with his language. But he stopped short of calling for Cohen to apologize, which Cohen has refused to do. 

“I think we ought to do this in a civil way. My words would have been very different,” Cuellar said. “I think that’s something that he needs to decide if he needs to apologize or not.”

Cohen told ABC News’ Jon Karl this morning that what he said is not “anything that deserves an apology or requires an apology.”

Cuellar will sit with his Republican colleague, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul at next Tuesday’s State of the Union. He said the bipartisan gesture is not just about a seating arrangement and rhetoric, but real action needs to be taken.

“We are going to disagree, without a doubt, but I think we need to do it in a civil way and show as much consensus and bipartisanship as much as we can,” he said.

You can watch the full interview with Cuellar HERE.  

We also spoke to Democratic strategist Anthony Coley of the Brunswick Group about Obama’s bump in the polls and how the lame duck Congressional session helped the president after November’s midterm “shellacking.”

You can watch the interview with Coley HERE.

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