Former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Tuesday that the GOP will need to regroup if it wants to grow and expand.
Calling former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) a consensus builder, Snowe said she agreed with his comments on Fox News Sunday this weekend that the Republican Party should be “closed for repairs.”
“The Republican Party is undergoing significant and serious changes and they’re going to have to rethink their approach as a political party and how they’re going to regroup and become a governing majority party that appeals to a broader group of Americans than they do today,” said Snowe.
After 17 years in the Senate, Snowe retired last year, citing extreme polarization and gridlock in Congress as reasons for her decision. In her new book, “Fighting for Common Ground,” Snowe offers advice to lawmakers operating in the highly partisan system.
But one reason for the rancor could be the new makeup of the chamber. Currently there are only six senators who have served more than 20 years and by 2015, less than one quarter of senators will have served pre- 9/11.
“You have a whole new group of lawmakers that know no other environment than the current one of dysfunction and disharmony,” said Snowe. “And that’s troubling.”
She added that senators have forgotten that their role as legislators is to solve problems for their constituents and for the country.
Snowe also expressed “serious problems’” with the implementation of the healthcare law. She voted against the bill despite intense lobbying from the Obama administration, particularly because of the costs of healthcare exchanges.
“I just think it happens to be moving in the wrong direction because it became too big in scale,” said Snowe. “Many of the facets of it have not been examined very carefully and many questions were not answered such as the issue of affordability.”
Republicans have recently renewed attacks on the healthcare law by tying it to the IRS scandal and raising questions about its implementation. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R- Minn.) has repeatedly voiced concerns that the IRS could manipulate a database of sensitive healthcare information. Sen. John Cornyn (R- Texas) introduced the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013” on May 16, which would prevent the agency from enforcing the law. That same day, Republicans voted for the 37th time to repeal part or all of the legislation.