President Trump criticized Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday morning after the senator previously indicated that he will not be supporting the latest health care reform bill.
“Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he is such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare. Graham-Cassidy Bill is GREAT! Ends Ocare!” Trump tweeted.
“I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to States!” Trump continued.
The president has been enthusiastic about Graham-Cassidy and other recent GOP efforts aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act, a primary campaign promise made by the president. But Paul calls Graham-Cassidy “Obamacare Lite” and says he will be voting no. The Kentucky senator has consistently opposed legislation he believes does not fully repeal Obamacare.
“There’s a big groundswell of people pushing for this,” Paul explained to reporters on Monday. “Two weeks ago, I’d have said zero [chance it’ll pass], but now I’m worried.” Paul said the bill “does not look, smell or even sound like repeal.”
Paul explained his problems with the bill in an op-ed on Monday for Fox News. He believes the bill leaves Obamacare’s taxes and regulations in place while also failing to honor Republican’s promise of a full repeal.
Many Republicans have condemned Paul for obstructing what they believe to be the GOP’s last chance to repeal Obamacare. Even Susan Collins (R-Maine), the centrist senator who opposed earlier GOP efforts to abolish or alter the ACA, says she is open to Graham-Cassidy. Sen. John McCain, whose vote single-handedly killed the last reform bill in July, says he’s more favorable to the most recent plan. Conservative senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) haven’t said definitively whether they will support or oppose the bill, with Lee showing more openness on this legislation that prior efforts.
This altered dynamic from past Republican health care reform efforts would make Paul’s vote even more crucial. With a 52-48 majority, adding in a potential tie breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, the GOP cannot afford to lose another vote due to Paul’s insistence on opposing Graham-Cassidy.