Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Alaska’s senators Wednesday warning them about potential changes to policy after the state’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski broke from the GOP on Obamacare repeal this week, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.
Zinke, who heads the agency that oversees federal land and natural resources, spoke to Murkowski and GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan, who represent a state that relies heavily on energy. Sullivan told the Dispatch News that he feared “the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop.”
The reported calls came after Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that Murkowski “let the Republicans, and our country, down” by casting one of two GOP votes against a motion to start debate on some form of Obamacare repeal. Senate Republicans are pushing to pass an Obamacare repeal plan this week despite party divisions and concerns from Murkowski and others that current repeal or replacement options will not adequately fix Obamacare’s flaws.
Murkowski could prove decisive this week as the GOP seeks to approve a so-called skinny Obamacare repeal in what will likely be a tight vote. Murkowski shrugged off the criticism Wednesday, telling NBC News that she did what she felt was best for Alaska.
“I don’t think it’s wise to be operating on a daily basis thinking about what a statement or a response that causes you to be fearful of your electoral prospects,” Murkowski told NBC.
Spokespeople for Murkowski and Sullivan, as well as the White House and Interior Department, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.