Schumer: If Republicans repeal Obamacare, 'they will own it'

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Story highlights

  • Republican only need 51 votes in the Senate to repeal Obamacare
  • But to replace it they'll need 60 votes, meaning they'll need Democratic votes

Washington (CNN)Incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Democrats will not work with Republicans to negotiate and pass a replacement for Obamacare once Republicans vote to repeal it.

"If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It's all theirs," Schumer told The Washington Post.
The New York Democrat has previously stopped short of saying anything similar to that on the matter. He told CNN last week in a hallway interview with a warning for Republicans that repealing Obamacare could pose problems.
"They're going to find repealing Obamacare without putting in a replacement will be far more disastrous and less clever than they think. That's all I'm going to say," Schumer said at the time.
Other Democratic leaders, including Sen. Patty Murray, told CNN that Democrats would make the GOP "own" a replacement bill. Retiring Democratic Leader Harry Reid said at a news conference Tuesday that Democrats would not be "complicit" on a replacement bill.
The lack of Democratic cooperation is significant because while Republicans can repeal much of Obamacare with just 51 votes -- meaning without Democratic support -- to replace it, they will need 60 votes and therefore a handful of Democratic backers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care law is still "the first item up in the new year."
"Will there be challenges? Absolutely, yes. This has been a very, very controversial law," McConnell said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "We have an obligation to the American people to change it and to do a better job. And if we can get Democratic cooperation in doing that, that would be great."