Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy is sounding the alarm on President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head up Health and Human Services in his cabinet.
Trump has nominated Representative Tom Price, one of the leading opponents of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. A six-term congressman from Georgia, Price has introduced legislation to dismantle the health care law multiple times in the last several years.
Murphy called Price a radical on the issue.
"This is essentially the worst case scenario," he told WNPR. "This is a nominee that clearly signals Trump’s intention to strip health care from 20 million Americans -- hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents -- and turn Medicare over to the private insurers, leaving seniors without enough money to afford health care."
The Senate must vote to confirm cabinet picks. Murphy said his general philosophy on nominees is to give them a fair hearing.
"But Tom Price is clearly someone who is being put in HHS in order to privatize Medicare, in order to attack women’s reproductive rights, and to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I can’t be any part of that," he said.
Cabinet confirmations go through on a simple majority, meaning if Democrats want to block Price, they'd have to sway the votes of three Republican senators. While Murphy doesn't completely rule that out, he's not hopeful.
"If Republicans all vote together -- and there’s no reason to think that they wouldn’t -- given that they all generally support stripping reproductive health care rights from women and repealing the Affordable Care Act, then Price will pass," he said.
Murphy said that in general, Trump's cabinet picks so far signal that he intends to try to fulfill his campaign promises.
"There were a lot of people who had this fantasy that Trump was going to be somebody different when he became President. That’s just not happening," he said. "He’s putting people in the administration who are going to make good on all of these pretty radical and divisive policies that he talked about during the campaign."