Paul outlines demands for yes vote on Graham-Cassidy bill

Paul outlines demands for yes vote on Graham-Cassidy bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year Despite amnesty, DACA bill favors American wage-earners MORE (R-Ky.) is outlining a list of demands to win his support for the GOP's latest ObamaCare replacement bill that would require major changes to the legislation.

Paul's primary demand, according to his office, is to substantially reduce the central component of the bill sponsored by GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Overnight Defense: GOP chair blames Dems for defense budget holdup | FDA, Pentagon to speed approval of battlefield drugs | Mattis calls North Korea situation 'sobering' Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTrump allies see 's---hole' controversy as overblown GOP senator: Leaking Trump’s alleged Oval Office comments ‘undermines trust’ Dems quiz Trump HHS nominee on drug pricing MORE (La.): block grants to states with money to spend on health care.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Graham/Cassidy keeps and redistributes/spends over a trillion dollars," Paul says in a document provided by his office.

"My promise to the voters was to repeal Obamacare - not block grant and keep Obamacare," he adds. "If Obamacare were truly repealed, this entire trillion dollars would not be spent. This is the primary obstacle to my support, and only a significant reassessment of this trillion-dollar spending regime would get my support."

A "significant reassessment" of the spending, though, is likely to cost the GOP other votes, most notably Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSessions torched by lawmakers for marijuana move Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy Trump's executive order on minerals will boost national defense MORE (R-Alaska), who is already focused on whether the bill does enough to help people afford coverage.

Finding some way to win Paul's vote, however unlikely, is crucial for GOP leaders, given that they can only lose two votes. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day MORE (R-Ariz.) is also against the bill, and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals MORE (R-Maine) said Sunday that it's "very difficult" for her to imagine supporting the measure.

Paul, who has repeatedly bashed the bill in television interviews and on Twitter, also wants states to have even more freedom to repeal ObamaCare regulations. The "default," he says, should be that all its regulations are repealed, and states can opt in to keep some regulations if they choose.

Further action to repeal those regulations is politically fraught, though, given that they include protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Finally, Paul wants both executive action from the Trump administration and committee time to consider legislative action on a favored cause of his, known as Association Health Plans, which allow businesses and individuals to band together to buy health insurance as a group.