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Graham: Budget resolution must keep ObamaCare repeal debate alive

Graham: Budget resolution must keep ObamaCare repeal debate alive
© 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.) said on Sunday he would not vote for a budget resolution that did not allow the health care debate to continue.

"We're not going to vote for a budget resolution that doesn't allow the health care debate to continue," Graham, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, said on ABC's "This Week."

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Republicans need to pass another budget resolution this fall to pave the way for tax reform, which they also want to pass by a simple majority.

They only have a one-seat advance on the Senate Budget Committee. And GOP leadership will need the support of at least 50 GOP senators to support the resolution, allowing Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceNorth Korea canceled secret meeting with Pence at Olympics Judicial order in Flynn case prompts new round of scrutiny The CIA may need to call White House to clarify Russia meddling MORE to break a tie, on the Senate floor.

If Graham and Sen. 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 (R-Wis.) both opposed the budget resolution, as Graham threatened Sunday, it would give leadership no room for error to get the budget - and the rules for tax reform - cleared.

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.) was the only Republican to vote against the fiscal year 2017 budget resolution passed in January, which set up ObamaCare repeal, because it didn't balance. He hasn't weighed in on the upcoming fiscal year 2018 budget.

Graham's comments come as he is trying to get his bill, co-sponsored with GOP 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.),  cleared through the Senate before the end of the month, when the fiscal year 2017 budget resolution and the rules allowing Republicans to bypass a Democratic filibuster expire.

He said Democrats are complaining about Republicans using the same legislative process they did by using budget reconciliation to pass a health care bill.

"I think we're going to get the votes next week. We're using the exact same process the Democrats did to pass ObamaCare. They complain about a process they used," Graham said.

Graham said he doesn't expect to get Democrats on board for reform. 

"They're never going to give in to changing ObamaCare," he said of Democrats. "They're going to single payer health care. There is no bipartisan solution to health care that fundamentally changes ObamaCare, because there are stakeholders for single payer health care."

Paul and Sen. 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 (R-Ariz.) have both said they will not support the bill from Graham-Cassidy. Several other key senators remain undecided.

McCain's opposition to the legislation, announced Friday, left Republicans scrambling to get 50 votes from their conference by Sept. 30 to meet the budget reconciliation deadline. 

If an ObamaCare replacement bill isn’t signed into law by then under budget reconciliation rules, it would need 60 votes to pass.

If Republicans aren't able to pass ObamaCare repeal this week, they could include rules allowing them to pass it by a simple majority in the next budget resolution.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (R-Utah) has noted that would require them to package healthcare and tax reform—their two biggest agenda items—together but it's "not easy."