Sen. Murphy: Dems more focused on defeating Graham-Cassidy than passing single-payer

Sen. Murphy: Dems more focused on defeating Graham-Cassidy than passing single-payer
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Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory Dem senator compares GOP tax bill to unicorns, Tupac conspiracy theories MORE (D-Conn.) on Friday downplayed suggestions that the Democratic Party was pivoting to single-payer health care, arguing that the party is more focused now on defending the Affordable Care Act.

Murphy told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he expected Monday's CNN debate between Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFranken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics MORE (D-Minn.), 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.) and 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.) to be focused on ObamaCare and whether or not to repeal it.

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“I actually don’t think that Bernie Sanders is going to be talking about single-payer health care Monday night,” Murphy said Friday. “I think he’s going to be talking about why Graham-Cassidy is such an immediate threat to the country.”

The four senators will meet for a debate on CNN on Monday evening, moderated by anchor Jake Tapper and chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

"With a critical deadline looming, Graham and Cassidy, architects of the Republicans latest healthcare proposal, will debate Sanders and Klobuchar on the merits of the plan that would repeal and replace Obamacare," CNN said in its announcement.

The Graham-Cassidy bill, which could get a vote next week in the Senate, is the GOP's last-ditch attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 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 already come out against the legislation, affording Republicans just one more defection against a unified Democratic minority.

Sanders, who has introduced his own single-payer "Medicare for all" health-care bill, has gained the support of more than a dozen Democratic co-sponsors, including most of the likely 2020 presidential contenders. Klobuchar, however, has not endorsed his bill, though she is a vocal critic of Graham-Cassidy.

But Murphy told MSNBC on Friday that Sanders will likely pivot to a full-throated defense of ObamaCare during the debate Monday night, which will help Democrats rally to defeat the bill later in the week.

“I think we have got to be out there as a Democratic Party continuing to explain what this bill does, and that includes Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar,” Murphy said. “I think our collective efforts, in the end, will be successful.”