Senator Rand Paul confirmed Big League Politics’ previous report of his asks for a “yes” vote on the Graham/Cassidy healthcare bill in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the Kentucky senator confirmed that the latest revisions to the bill are not enough to gain his approval. The additions to the bill, added late Sunday evening, would add billions of dollars for states and fewer coverage requirements.
The primary demand that Senator Paul has is reducing the $1 trillion spending.
As we previously confirmed, multiple conversations took place over the weekend between Senator paul, President Tump, and Vice President Mike Pence. Additionally, we can report that everyone involved in those talks is open to a deal and changes to the bill. The question that remains is if the authors of the bill and senate leaders will be open to the changes.
“Senator Paul has said Graham/Cassidy spends too much, doesn’t fix enough regulations, and does not allow the market to help bring inexpensive insurance to millions more Americans. Through the changes in the bill he is proposing, as well as executive actions that could be taken today by the Trump administration, he believes these issues can be resolved,” Senator Paul’s Chief Strategist Doug Stafford told Big League Politics. “He is working with the White House currently to see if they can be addressed, speaking directly with President Trump and Vice President Pence multiple times in the past few days.”
Senator Paul has repeatedly referred to the bill as “Amnesty for Obamacare” or “Grahamnesty,” claiming that it is not an actual repeal.
“Graham/Cassidy keeps and redistributes/spends over a trillion dollars. My promise to the voters was to repeal Obamacare — not block grant and keep Obamacare,” Senator Paul said in his list of asks which was provided to BLP. “If Obamacare were truly repealed, this entire trillion dollars would not be spent.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.”
The senator’s asks also include the default on Obamacare regulations being that they are waived so states have to opt into ACA regulations and an executive expansion of the groups that are eligible to become a health association.
When asked about Senator Ted Cruz opposing the bill, after he campaigned as a Liberty Republican in 2016, a source close to the negotiations told Big League Politics that he isn’t actually opposing the bill. The source explained that he has been saying that they do not yet have his vote, but there is a big difference between that and outright opposition. The source added that Cruz has not done anything other than offer support of the ill privately until yesterday, when it looked as though Senator Paul may succeed in killing it.
Cruz has been absent on this issue publicly and privately until the 11th hour.
Mitch McConnell Preparing Exit Strategies, Potential Successors in Advance of Possible Retirement
Will Mitch retire?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly created a shortlist of potential successors, with the establishment Republican considering a possible retirement before his term ends. McConnell was reelected to another Senate term in 2020, and the Intercept broke the news of his retirement considerations on Thursday.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is reportedly McConnell’s first pick for his successor. Former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams are also possible replacements. McConnell, 79, has served as a Kentucky Senator since 1985.
Kentucky law currently would allow Governor Andy Beshear- a Democrat- to appoint McConnell’s successor if he retired. However, McConnell is pushing for the Republican state legislature to pass reforms allowing them to select replacements for Senators who have resigned. McConnell’s quiet boosting of legislative reforms to appoint interim Senators led to the reports of his potential retirement, although it’s unclear when he plans to leave the picture.
McConnell largely alienated the Republican Party with a forceful denunciation of former President Donald Trump during the second sham impeachment trial targeting the President, although he declined to vote to convict the President on the basis of legality. A Republican candidate in the mold of McConnell’s 20th century style would have a difficult time winning a Kentucky GOP primary, and McConnell’s appointed pick may start off in such an election with a considerable handicap. In addition, the legacy Senator remains popular in Kentucky, although at least one county party censured him for his betrayal of Trump in January.
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