Reps. Dent and Himes: Compromise 'an absolute necessity'

ABC News' Mary Bruce speaks with Rep. Jim Himes, D-Connecticut, and Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania, about how Congress can move forward by working with members and both sides of the aisle.
8:31 | 05/01/17

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Transcript for Reps. Dent and Himes: Compromise 'an absolute necessity'
I agree on I'm ABC's Mary Bruce here in the capital just steps off the house floor and today. Try and bridge the party to vital that they were joined the Republican congressman Charlie Dent Democrat Jim times and you advocating for something. That is I. As a bit of a dirty word appeared these days compromise. Though wrote an op Ed this weekend advocating thing that there is for the party's next be working together. Yes in fact when I've noticed over the last six or seven years anytime we've had a pass. Must enact legislation. We've had to settle bipartisan coalition maneuvers on. Hurricane relief. Budget budget agreements appropriations bills CR's debt and its. Whatever the case can be violence against women's act we we always need to put together by matter Republicans and Democrats to pass the bills that's likely gonna happen this week with the appropriations bill. And so I think we need to do that on more issues and its infrastructure tax reform. Reed and health care. I see you have a Republican controlled congress a Republican in the White House what are some of the areas that Democrats should be viewing it as right for bipartisan progress. Yeah and and I mean just go back to the idea of compromise and compromises the tool now it's on an end in itself it's not what you celebrate compromises which are willing to do to get some things done for your constituents I think congressman -- night for a long time we've done a little bit of work together. I think we understand that there actually is a lot of common ground on issues. Like infrastructure damage is not a district I think in the country they can't use an improvement it in its infrastructure. Tax reform we're not do agree on and on everything but that's not the point the question is can we agree on enough. To move the ball down the field to get something done I think we both believe and I think we believe we're not the only one to believe that that there is a lot of common ground that we just need to work to find. Also at two. One thing I've learned in this business that if we want durable sustainable. Reforms or changes they almost always have to happen on a bipartisan basis and I think that was one of the challenges with a health care law from torn tendon was done on partisan basis muscled through. And we've been fighting about it ever since and I think you on health care anyway we should we should not try to make that same mistake again. He mentioned the spending bill it seems this week that congress is poised to deliver the president the first major bipartisan piece of legislation averting a government shutdown but. That's wins and that's on. Richard I mean on the Appropriations Committee has a lot of wins Republicans get increases in defense many of us advocated for increases. The National Institutes of Health. As an example there's additional money for homeland security and border security. There are plenty wins here for both parties and people can celebrate this an infrastructure 120 years adjustment. Yeah that's right now and agri with congressman dent this is this is going to be the classic model assuming it gets done I mean it's early days yet we'll see if it just I'm assuming that's only Monday. Assuming he gets done it's gonna be the model because I'll bet you anything you it wins with a bunch of Democrats a bunch of Republicans and with some people on both sides the aisle launching torpedoes at that time he assigned a success right. Nobody walked away feeling too good nobody from fox walks away feeling too bad and and that's we need more of that if we're gonna move look we may not get huge went but we will get someone's. And of course the president also didn't get everything that he wanted out of the spending bill you mentioned border security he wanted funding for the law that's not included. Well there's an additional billion and a half dollars four four Homeland Security border security. There is additional money meaning operate all but for border security and helping to establish operational control the border the president wins through he's getting. Significant amount of money for defense the major down payment 120 billion dollars. For defense. That that he that he wanted so like I think they're the president has letters silvers while. And also health care of course making another push this week to try and move that ball forward. Blake look at the issue really here's been a lot of opposition within the Republican Party do you think your party's going to be able to bridge those own internal divisions here. That remains to be seen I but I I've expressed my concerns of the health care bill even prior to this latest amendment I mean on my own feeling is that the Medicaid. The provision does not provide a soft enough landing first states like mine that have expanded Medicaid. Tax credits aren't sufficient for people would be transition from Medicaid to. To the exchange. And their commitment without coverage of the the amendment I think makes the situation more difficult although the votes I'm told or are closer than they were from before so. And these possible as of today I suspect the votes are not there but they. It's only Monday. And is there ever a way for there to be a health care bill of repeal and replace it obamacare they could get some of Democrats onboard the cutter some of that compromise. Well again we'll see what happens this week my hope is that this budget deal sort of demonstrates that there is a possibility to get both us sides together to get something done. On health care you know we've been so far apart for eight years now and you know quite frankly I think is president had a little bit learning to do with respect the fact that he. Has issues to solve within his own Republican caucus before he can come to the Democrats it's a much more complicated thing my personal hope is is that we can get to a point where. Where are we look at each other and we say hey. There are lots of things and in the Affordable Care Act that need repair and whether you want to call that replace or repair maybe we all use our own words if we come together and say here's 1015 things. That will make this better that we can agree on that'll be rules real progress the American people. Dial down a little bit into some of the things that are in that new compromise the revision that's being tossed around here this week preexisting conditions. The president has said that he wants to make sure the protections are people with preexisting conditions. Remain that popular provision of obamacare. You've seen some of this language do you think that the current version of the bill would fulfill the president's promise to protect those protections. Well I grew the president we need to protect people with preexisting conditions as Republicans we have made that pledge. The challenge with the amendment that's been forests is at the yeah. The protections for people with preexisting conditions is is weakened because states will have the ability to wait out or opt out. The essential health benefits so I think. In the in the current form of the bill as I understand that that people preexisting conditions would lose some protection potentially. And based on what you see is this version better or worse then Obama cares now. He's doing nothing better work well I mean I voted against the health care law obamacare I'm I was here in 2010 was enacted. There are many challenges of this law people are paying a lot more if you like they're getting a lot less. In terms of health care so I think it can just stated we need to do some things fights merger agreement how we fix and repair this individual market. They're their taxes at both sides agree need to be repealed medical devices that Democrats particularly dislike the it. Cadillac tax and maybe a tax on insurance premiums. Mean certain things we can agree to socialist try to work health care from the center route find some areas of agreement on some of those issues I just mentioned. But my view the health care law currently isn't working but this alternative this replacement piece. No still has searchers flaws. What is your nice to Republican colleagues this week as they try to push forward with this compromise. Well helping get the budget done and demonstrate you know that we can work together and then what what I hope is a democratic it's obviously very hard for any Democrat to sign upward even contemplated bill that would throw as the CBO estimated 24 million Americans off of there. Offer their health care largely through Medicaid this issue a preexisting conditions of course very. Very personal for a lot of us so we're not at a point where you know that Democrats are willing to engage on that topic again this has been the big divide for the last eight years. My hope is as a Democrat that they continue to have some problems getting this particular built on. And that you know maybe a week or two from now the president wakes up so he women I do wanna get something done and is as congressman Dan said. The way to do that is as he's had to go from the center out you know even if it's only you know 567 things we could agree on let's start there and get those done is. Look I was a proud supporter. The Affordable Care Act on the first to say that there's there's areas of it that that definitely need improvement. Your dice your colleagues slow it down a little bit. My nicest thing to get it right frankly I'd I changed the paradigm on that crazy about this bill even with the amendment. So I I think we've got almost have to start over. In terms of legislation in fact if I have my druthers I would start of this congress on infrastructure is that scenario I think that lends itself better to bipartisan consensus. The maybe health carried tax reform so right. I'm kind of I'm that's Jim and I and our op that we need to talk little about the tax reform and infrastructures areas of potential collaboration that we could maybe start building that bipartisan coalition real collective. Congressman thank you very much for helping us set up the week's out of some of these fights that are coming hatton and maybe giving us little cause for optimism here. Thank you all for joining us make sure to keep following us on FaceBook and Twitter and keep an eye on these fights to come this week.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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