Cabinet Room

12:11 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Greatly appreciate it.  I’m very happy that you’re all here today with Republican senators.  We’re going to be discussing the urgent need to repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare.  It was just announced yesterday that 2 million people have dropped out of Obamacare — 2 million additional.  They are leaving fast.  Premiums have increased by an average of more than 100 percent nationwide.  

In North Carolina, premiums have gone up 176 percent.  In Arkansas, premiums have gone up 128 percent.  In Pennsylvania, premiums have gone up by 120 percent.  And I hate to say this to you, Lisa, but in Alaska, they’ve gone up 207 percent on Obamacare.  You know, I used to mention only Arizona because they were up 116 percent in Arizona.  Now Arizona is like good by comparison to some of the numbers.  But they’re way up in Arizona, also.

Insurers are fleeing the market.  Last week it was announced that one of the largest insurers is pulling out of Ohio — the great state of Ohio.  That could mean another 20 counties.  At least 19,000 people in Ohio will have no plan at all.

Nationwide, one in three U.S. counties have only a single insurer, and many of those insurers, as you know, have announced that they’re leaving.  Obamacare has been broken, and it’s been a broken promise.  One after another, Americans were told that if you liked your doctor, you’ll keep your doctor.  That was a lie.  They were told that if you liked your plan, you could keep your plan.  That was a lie.  Americans were told that premiums would go down by $2,500 per year.  And instead, their premiums went up to levels that nobody thought even possible.

The House has passed a bill, and now the Senate is working very, very hard, and specifically the folks in this room.  And I really appreciate what you’re doing.  We’ll come out with a bill that’s going to be a phenomenal bill for the people of our country.  Generous, kind, with heart — that’s what I’m saying.  And that may be adding additional money into it.  We’re going to come out with a real bill, not Obamacare.  And the results are going to be fantastic, and hopefully it will be announced at the appropriate time, and everybody is going to be happy.

But by contrast, Republicans in Congress, as hard as they’re working, you have the Democrats on the other side who truly have become obstructionists.  Even their new motto, “Resist” — and I guess it’s a pretty accurate motto.  Every time I see it, I say, that’s right, that does represent the Democrats.  It’s called “Resist” and it’s very unfortunate.  And I actually said, if we came up with the greatest healthcare plan or tax cut — because we’re coming out with a massive tax cut and tax reform — but if we came up with the greatest healthcare or tax cut ever in our country’s history, we wouldn’t get one Democrat vote.  It’s obstruction.

So the Republicans are working hard.  We passed and signed 38 pieces of legislation, which nobody likes to talk about.  I think probably seldom has any President and administration done more or had more success so early on, including a record number of resolutions to eliminate job-killing regulations.  And we see it all over the country where jobs are starting that would never have started, ever, under any circumstances.  

So I’d like to thank our great Vice President for being here.  I’d like to thank all of the senators who I have so much respect for — I’ve gotten to know and love some of them, and know and like others.  (Laughter.)  But I have great relationships with every one of them.  And I tell you what, I do have a lot of respect for the people in this room, I can tell you that, very much.  And I appreciate you being here.

Just a little bit on the economy.  Unemployment has fallen to a 16-year low, and manufacturing confidence is at an all-time high.  Just came out with a report — the highest level of confidence in the history of the reports, which are — they’ve been taking these statistics for many, many years, Mike, I’ll tell you.  And in the history of this report, the confidence level is at the highest point it’s ever been.  

Companies are moving back into the United States.  You see it in Michigan where the auto companies are coming back in and they’re expanding their existing plants, and they’re saying, well, maybe we’re just going to have to build in the United States, and that’s the way it’s going to be.  

I was also really thrilled, last week — and it had a lot to do with even their opening ceremony — where, in Pennsylvania, they’re opening a brand new coal mine.  That’s the first coal mine that’s opened in this country in a long time.  It’s brand new.  Many of them are being reopened, but this is a brand new mine.  And that hasn’t happened for many, many years.

So we’re keeping our promise to the American people.  And that’s why it’s so important for the Senate and the senators that are with us today to come up with a great healthcare plan.  And I really believe they’re going to be able to do it.  We’re very close, and I really think they’re going to be able to do it.

So the economy is great.  Everything seems to be working really well.  And a very big focus for us over the next short period of time are going to be tax cuts, tax reform.  We’re going to be putting in a very major infrastructure plan.  And so this week, in particular, we’re going to be focused on Obamacare repeal and replace.  

I’ve been talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare now for almost a year.  Don’t forget, on June 16th — June 14th is my birthday, but June 16th was the day I announced that I was running.  Some people said, “Really?  Not going to happen.”  And it happened.  But it’s been exactly — so in three days it’s exactly three years.  So we’re very happy about that.  And from day one, I said we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare.  And that’s what we’re going to do.

So we’ve kept our promises.  We’ve gotten rid of the regulations.  The economy is going really well and going to get even a lot better.  Our numbers for the quarter are going to be very good, I believe.  When the numbers are announced, the GDP numbers, I think they’re going to be shockingly good, based on all of the facts that we’re hearing and based on the enthusiasm from the businesses, because they’re doing well.  And we’ve just started.

So I want to thank you all, and I want to thank you senators for being here.  We appreciate it.  And now what we’ll do is we’ll start talking about the replacement for Obamacare, which will be far better than Obamacare.

Thank you very much.

Q    What’s your timeframe, Mr. President — your timeline for the replacement bill?

THE PRESIDENT:  As soon as we can do it.  As soon as we can do it.  

Q    Mr. President, should Bob Mueller be fired?

Thank you very much, everybody.  

Q    Should Bob Mueller be fired?

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.

12:18 P.M. EDT