Rand Paul blasts GOP for keeping ObamaCare bill in 'secure location'

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulBusiness, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday blasted House Republicans for keeping their ObamaCare repeal and replace legislation under wraps.

“I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view,” Paul tweeted.

“This is unacceptable. This is the biggest issue before Congress and the American people right now.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's new bill is being kept in a “dedicated reading room,” Bloomberg reported, where it will be available to members of the panel ahead of a markup. The move is an effort to prevent leaks.

GOP leaders say the bill will be released once it is final.

In several tweets, Paul accused House leadership of not wanting to admit to creating a watered down version of ObamaCare, and demanded that they release text of the bill.

Paul later said he's been told the draft of the repeal bill is "take it or leave it." 

"I think that's why it's top secret," he said. "Why don't they want us to see it? The only copy we've seen is from the media — does that sound to you backwards?" 

"We saw a leaked copy that the media was given that we weren’t given," he continued. "Now we’re told that it’s being classified, that the hearing is like a security clearance hearing, you have to have a clearance and permission." 

Paul said the bill will be made available starting today to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"I’m assuming anybody else will be turned away," he said. 

Paul’s criticism follows a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday to discuss a strategy for repealing the healthcare law.

The Kentucky senator urged House lawmakers to release text of the ObamaCare draft "today."

Reporters later tweeted photos of the senator attempting to access the room where the bill is being kept, and being denied entry.

— This story was updated at 12:15 p.m.