Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said after speaking with President Donald Trump Tuesday he thinks it’s possible for the Senate to come together on an Obamacare repeal bill members across the conference can support.
Paul — one of the most vocal critics of The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 — said he and the president have “a similar approach to things,” and he believes he would like to see more of the Affordable Care Act repealed than the Senate’s working draft currently accomplishes.
The Kentucky conservative has been adamant throughout Republicans’ repeal efforts that the party needs to make good on their promise to constituents to do away with Obamacare — a feat he doesn’t think the House or Senate measures truly accomplish. Paul said he laid out a number of different ideas he has to make improvements to the legislation and plans to do the same for leadership.
“I think the current bill doesn’t adequately repeal Obamacare. It keeps too many of the regulations. It keeps too many of the subsidies, and then it creates a new federal subsidy for insurance bailouts,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview Tuesday. “So I think the bill can get better, but we talked about ways to make it better and I’m sending him a letter and his staff this afternoon and Senate leadership — a letter of specific things I think we can do to make it better.”
Paul was one of several Republicans in the upper chamber to voice his concerns over the lack of transparency during the Senate’s process of crafting the bill, having called for additional time to conduct negotiations and review the text. The pushback came much to the dismay of Senate Republican leadership, who were forced to delay their vote on the motion to proceed due to a lack of votes which they hoped would have taken place before August recess.
He said he thinks the current impasse is “a good thing,” adding they have reached a point where those dissenting will now have influence in the process.
“I’ve been saying for months now if you get to impasse, come back and talk to me — I’m open to discussion. But I think you have to prove that there are enough votes to be at impasse. If they have enough votes, no one cares about your opinion,” he continued. “If there aren’t enough votes to pass it and they really want to pass it, now all of a sudden more people do care about your opinion.”
Paul said he’s laid out his vision for the bill to his Senate colleagues and thinks it’s doable to complete negotiations in coming weeks.
“I’ve spoken at the policy lunch probably a dozen times over the last few weeks,” he said. “So, I think people know where I’m coming from, and it’s just a matter of whether or not there are enough of us to, I guess, influence the bill towards becoming more of a repeal bill.”
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