Graham knocks Obama over GOP repeal criticism
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China 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." 

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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 McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters 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 CassidyTax bill could fuel push for Medicare, Social Security cuts Collins to vote for GOP tax plan Overnight Tech: Lawmakers want answers on Uber breach | Justices divided in patent case | Tech makes plea for net neutrality on Cyber Monday 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 HellerDems look to use Moore against GOP Senate hearing shows Fed chair nominee acts the part Senate GOP votes to begin debate on tax bill MORE (Nev.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' GOP chairman warns of ISIS's ‘cyber caliphate’ Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him 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 MurkowskiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Week ahead: Trump expected to shrink two national monuments GOP on verge of opening Arctic refuge to drilling MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (Maine) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (Ariz.) are undecided. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) has said he will oppose the legislation.