Political News

Murkowski, Zinke reconcile over beers

Posted August 3

It was a reconciliation accompanied by libation.

After a reportedly tense phone call amid GOP health care efforts last week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made peace over dinner and beers Wednesday night -- Alaskan-brewed IPAs, to be specific.

Zinke tweeted a selfie of the congenial pair Thursday morning, writing, "I say dinner, she says brews. My friends know me well. Thanks @lisamurkowski #Alaska #IPA #MadeInAmerica."

Zinke -- whose department has no direct role in efforts to reform health care -- made headlines last week when the Alaska Dispatch News reported that he had contacted Murkowski after she dissented on a key vote on GOP health care legislation. While the two do not work together on health care, Zinke depends on Murkowski, as the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as the subcommittee that oversees his department's funding.

In an interview with E&E News last week, Murkowski elaborated on the call she had with Zinke, calling it "difficult" and adding that "it was not a very pleasant call."

Murkowski said that during the call, Zinke told her "the President is really disappointed in what he perceives to be as your lack of support for health care reform."

Zinke's office on Thursday disputed that there was any tension during the call.

"They talk and meet often in both a friendly and professional capacity. The secretary and Sen. Murkowski speak on the phone frequently and have a very good working relationship. The call was professional and friendly and media stories are completely sensationalized," Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift said.

Murkowski's office did not immediately respond to request for comment about the meeting or last week's phone call.

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