Senate

Cruz: ObamaCare repeal bill doesn’t have my support yet

Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sunday that he isn’t yet ready to support the latest GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare, increasing uncertainty that Republicans will be able to pass the legislation. 

“Right now they don’t have my vote, and I don’t think they have [Sen.] Mike Lee’s [R-Utah] either,” Cruz said at the Texas Tribune Festival.
 
{mosads}
 
“Now, I want to be a yes,” he added, indicating a willingness to be won over.
 
He said that he and Lee sat down with GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) to pitch changes to their legislation, which replaces ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion and health care insurance subsidies with federal block grants. 
 
“We said if you take these edits we’re a yes. They took our edits and then a day later they removed our edits,” Cruz said. 
 
Both Cruz and Lee have sounded optimistic about the Cassidy-Graham legislation, but held off from offering their support and noted they are pushing for additional changes. 
 
The ongoing negotiations reflect the uphill challenge GOP leadership faces to getting an ObamaCare repeal bill through the Senate by the end of the week. 
 
In addition to Cruz and Lee, several other key senators — including GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — remain on the sidelines. 
 
Meanwhile, GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and John McCain (Ariz.) have said they can’t support it. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Sunday that it was “difficult to imagine” that she would ultimately vote for the ObamaCare repeal legislation. 
 
Republicans have until the end of the month to pass an ObamaCare repeal bill by a simple majority. The budget rules allowing them to bypass a Democratic filibuster expire on Sept. 30. 
 
Cruz, on Sunday, argued that was a “bogus deadline.” 
 
“We can do budget resolutions, and budget reconciliation, at any point. We can do it after Sept. 30,” he said. 
 
The Senate parliamentarian has determined that the current rules expire at the end of the month. 
 
If Republicans wanted to pass ObamaCare repeal by a simple majority after September, they would need to include rules setting up health care in the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that is already being used to pave the way for tax reform. 
Tags Bill Cassidy John McCain Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Mike Lee Rand Paul Susan Collins Ted Cruz

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