After clashing with GOP leadership last week, accusing them of trying to push legislation that did not fully repeal Obamacare, Sen. Rand Paul now says the same Republicans are trying to double down on their efforts in secret.
“I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view,” Paul tweeted on Thursday.
“This is unacceptable. This is the biggest issue before Congress and the American people right now.”
The Hill reported: “Paul later said he’s been told the House Republicans’ draft of the repeal bill is ‘take it or leave it.’ ‘I think that’s why it’s top secret,’ he said. ‘Why don’t they want us to see it? The only copy we’ve seen is from the media — does that sound to you backwards?'”
“We saw a leaked copy that the media was given that we weren’t given,” Paul said on Thursday according to The Hill. “Now we’re told that it’s being classified, that the hearing is like a security clearance hearing, you have to have a clearance and permission.”
Paul’s Obamacare Replacement Act legislation has also been introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina; it contains free market-based alternatives to the Affordable Care Act as well as a full repeal of President Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation. Paul has the support of the 40 vote bloc House Freedom Caucus, and Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz vowed last week to oppose any proposal that did not meet the bare minimum of the Obamacare repeal passed in 2015.
Paul, Lee and Cruz alone could potentially block any Obamacare proposal passed by the House if it does not meet their standards. “Republicans would likely need 50 of the 52 GOP senators to vote for a repeal-and-replace bill, so the trio could sink any proposal they dislike,” Politico noted Monday.
Sen. Paul told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto last month, “I think the replacement plan that we’ve put forward is now the conservative plan, and the House Freedom Caucus has endorsed it.” The senator continued, “I would say that the Republican establishment position is, is that they’re going to keep parts of Obamacare. I don’t think ‘Obamacare-lite’ is what we should do,” Paul said.
On Thursday, Paul believed that although the current bill will be made available today to those who sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “I’m assuming anybody else will be turned away,” the senator said.
Paul demanded better transparency.
Disclosure: I co-authored Senator Rand Paul’s 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington.