Graham knocks Obama over GOP repeal criticism
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria Polling analyst: Changes to legal immigration ‘the real sticking point among Democrats’ Graham would consider US-Russia military coordination in Syria 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 McConnellMcConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Overnight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria Senate to vote Monday on Trump's VA nominee 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 CassidyGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave New push to break deadlock on paid family leave 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 HellerSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Jacky Rosen hits Dean Heller over health care in first negative ad GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh MORE (Nev.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonJuan Williams: Putin wins as GOP spins GOP senator: Harley-Davidson is right to move some production overseas GOP senator: Trump’s policies doing 'permanent damage' 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 MurkowskiThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Overnight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts MORE (Maine) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainControversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin Ex-Montenegro leader fires back at Trump: ‘Strangest president' in history MORE (Ariz.) are undecided. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump McCain: Trump plays into 'Putin's hands' by attacking Montenegro, questioning NATO obligations MORE (R-Ky.) has said he will oppose the legislation.