Graham knocks Obama over GOP repeal criticism
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (R-S.C.) is firing back at former President Obama after he said it was "aggravating" to watch Republicans repeatedly try to repeal ObamaCare. 

“It’s no surprise President Obama opposes sending money and power back to the states and closer to where the patients live. Obamacare was designed with the exact opposite goal in mind — which is to consolidate health care power and decision-making in Washington," Graham, a co-sponsor of the latest GOP repeal effort, said in a statement. 

He added that it was "unrealistic" to think Obama "would acknowledge his signature issue is failing." 

Graham's comments come after Obama described Republicans' Graham-Cassidy repeal bill as "aggravating" and "frustrating." 

"All of this being done without any economic or actuarial or plain common sense rationale ... it frustrates, and it's certainly frustrating to have to mobilize every couple of months to keep our leaders from inflicting real human suffering on our constituents," the former president said an event sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

"But typically, that’s how progress is won and how progress is maintained,” he added.

The rhetorical back-and-forth comes as Senate Republicans are gearing up for a second attempt at repealing ObamaCare. 

A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE said earlier Wednesday that it was the Kentucky Republican's "intention" to bring up a bill spearheaded by Graham and Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTo lower prescription drug prices, fix existing drug discount programs Kimmel writer tweets amount NRA has given lawmakers in response to shooting prayers Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule MORE (R-La.) next week.

The Graham-Cassidy bill would repeal much of ObamaCare, ending funding for Medicaid’s expansion and the healthcare law’s subsidies that help people buy insurance. In their place, block grants would be given to states.

Graham added that the legislation would break the "ObamaCare mold." 

“The Democratic Party is heavily invested in Washington controlling health care. Our last best chance to repeal and replace Obamacare is with Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson," he said, referring to GOP Sens. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe siren of Baton Rouge Big Republican missteps needed for Democrats to win in November What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (Nev.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump spars with GOP lawmakers on steel tariffs Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal MORE (Wis.). 

Republicans face an end-of-the-month deadline to pass ObamaCare repeal if they want to avoid a Democratic filibuster, which would require 60 votes to break.

But it remains unclear if they will be able to get the 50 votes needed to allow Vice President Pence to break a tie. 

GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe siren of Baton Rouge Interior plan to use drilling funds for new projects met with skepticism The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (Maine) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (Ariz.) are undecided. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.) has said he will oppose the legislation.