Johnson, McCain, Graham Seek Assurance ‘Skinny Repeal’ Isn’t The Final Bill

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Three GOP senators are looking for assurances from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the Senate’s “skinny repeal” bill will only be used as a vehicle to go to conference with the House to construct legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona vowed to vote against the measure unless they are guaranteed that the scaled back measure won’t be the final product.

The skinny repeal, which still has not been publicly released, would leave a number of Obamacare regulations and taxes in place while eliminating the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.

“We’ve been asked by our leadership for days now to vote on the least common denominator, the skinny bill, because the pitch is, if you vote for this skinny bill, then we can go to conference, then we can get my bill scored, we can get Ted Cruz’s bill scored, we can get other people’s bills’ scored. That has promise of maybe bringing us together, but they’re not scored yet,” Graham told reporters. “That makes imminent sense to me with one condition: we actually go to conference.”

The trio expressed concerns, if the legislation is passed, it could go directly to the House floor and be signed into law as different factions of the conference have struggled to get on the same page in a number of key areas, including funding for Medicaid expansion states and Title I regulations.

“I am convinced that we can move forward, but we have to have an assurance that it will go to a normal conference. Right now that is not the case. And we do not have the assurance that is the case,” McCain told reporters. “I believe that one of the major problems with Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats without a single Republican vote. I believe we shouldn’t make that same mistake again.”

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