GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that Sen. John McCain’s decision to come out against his Obamacare repeal legislation won’t impact their long-standing friendship.
McCain announced Friday that he would vote no on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, calling for Congress to take a bipartisan approach. The legislation aimed to replace Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies with block grants provided to the states.
While Graham is disappointed that McCain won’t support his bill, he isn’t taking the Arizona senator’s decision personally.
“My friendship with John McCain is not based on how he votes but respect for how he’s lived his life and the person he is,” Graham said in a statement. “I respectfully disagree with his position not to proceed forward on Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson. I know Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson is the best chance to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
The Arizona Republican joined Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky as the party’s second definitive “no” on the bill. Leadership can only lose two GOP votes to successfully send the measure back to the lower chamber. McCain was one of the three senators being heavily pressured to support the bill; Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine have not yet announced whether they will vote in favor of the legislation, although Collins said she was leaning toward no.
Republicans lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline to pass health care reform, using the Fiscal Year 2017 budget as a tool to move forward on the bill using the reconciliation process, allowing them to pass the measure with just a simple majority in the Senate.
The Senate Budget Committee has a hearing scheduled on the bill for Monday.
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