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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 GrahamSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Trump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair 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 PenceHouse formally sends impeachment to Senate, putting Trump on trial for Capitol riot Biden White House to resume COVID-19 briefings with health officials Cancel culture comes for the moderates MORE to break a tie, on the Senate floor.

If Graham and Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Wisconsin Democrats make ad buy calling on Johnson to resign Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress 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 PaulSenate to vote Tuesday on Biden's secretary of State pick Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus 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 CassidyBill CassidyModerates vow to 'be a force' under Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief 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 McCainDeclassify the post-9/11 torture program Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Whoopi Goldberg wears 'my vice president' shirt day after inauguration 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 HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line 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."