Utah Sen. Mike Lee says he would accept Supreme Court nomination if Trump asks


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Sen. Mike Lee said Thursday that if the incoming president told him he was needed more on the U.S. Supreme Court than in the Senate he would accept the nomination.

“If he asked me that question, I would not say no,” the Utah Republican said.

President-elect Donald Trump included Lee on a list of 10 potential Supreme Court nominees in September during his run for the White House. Trump also released a list of 11 names last May, including the senator’s brother, Utah Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Tom Lee.

Lee reiterated Thursday that he’s content in the Senate where he just won a second term in a landslide.

“This was the job I wanted, the job that I sought twice now, and a job I was elected to twice,” he told KSL Newsradio’s “The Doug Wright Show.”

Lee, who did not vote for Trump, met with the Republican president-elect last month. Trump asked Lee his opinion of possible Supreme Court nominees, and the two also discussed repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Lee and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, are focused on dismantling President Barack Obama’s signature health care law as the new Congress opened this week.

Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, joined Senate Republicans in making the case for repealing Obamacare in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday.

“While our friends on the other side of the aisle have been trying to convince the American people that there’s nothing to see here and this poorly named law is working to plan, the vast majority of our citizens know the truth: Obamacare just doesn’t work,” he said.

Congress needs to act quickly so families no longer have to choose between paying their mortgages or paying for health insurance, Hatch said.

“In fact, I think it’s safe to say if we fail to act, the worst is yet to come,” the senator said.

Hatch said the plan calls for Obamacare to repealed by the end of January. Coming up with a replacement package will be a more difficult and methodical process, he said.

“We don’t want to be reckless, and we don’t want to inflict more harm on the American people or our health care system,” Hatch said.

Legislation must include a stable transition period to give Congress time and space to provide “sensible” reforms, he said.

Lee said repealing Obamacare’s subsidies and taxes could be done through the budget reconciliation process, but it’s unclear whether insurance regulations could be rolled back that way.

“We’ve got to repeal what we can. We’ve got to do it right away,” he said.

Congress would then have to move with “deliberate speed” to replace the law, though it could take a few steps to accomplish that, Lee said.

“We don’t have all the details of what a replacement plan might look like right now,” he said.

Republicans expect opposition from Democrats to repealing the law, but Hatch said he hopes Congress can come up with bipartisan solutions free of “petty, cheap politics.”

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