Sen. Rand Paul: GOP health bill is 'a Christmas tree full of bil - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Sen. Rand Paul: GOP health bill is 'a Christmas tree full of billion-dollar ornaments'

(The Enquirer/Carrie Cochran) (The Enquirer/Carrie Cochran)
FOX19 -

Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying the controversial measure is like a Christmas tree decorated with big government spending ornaments.

"Here's the problem, I don't think we're getting anywhere with the bill we have. We're at an impasse. Every time you add federal money, more spending, for the big-government Republicans, it offends the conservatives," Paul said on "Fox News Sunday." "So right now, this bill, which is not a repeal, has become the kitchen sink."

McConnell planned to put the bill up for a vote on the floor last week, but yanked it last minute after it became clear too many Republicans abandoned ship. Now the plan is to strike deals over the Congressional recess and reconsolidate in August. 

Moderates like Sens. Rob Portman (R, Ohio) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) can’t support a bill that would up premiums and increase the uninsured rate by 22 million and take billions of dollars out of combating the opioid epidemic. The health care plan is heavily criticized being mostly a set of tax cuts for the wealthy payed for through gutting Medicaid. 

Conservatives like Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Texas) had sticker shock at how much the bill maintained the basic structure of the Affordable Care Act.

“Now, there are Republicans getting so weak-kneed they are saying, oh, we are afraid to repeal the taxes,” Paul said. “What happened to these people? They all were for repealing ObamaCare. Now, there's virtually no one left.”

Paul pushed the Senate for a clean repeal. President Donald Trump last week endorsed the idea, despite campaign promises to provide healthcare for everyone at a cheaper rate.

"The bill is just being lit up like a Christmas tree full of billion-dollar ornaments, and it's not repeal," Paul said, referencing the wheeling and dealing going on behind closed doors to moderate senators such as a $45 billion check to fight heroin abuse and maintaining some of Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy.

Republicans only need a majority to pass the bill instead of 60 votes required for legislation. They can only lose two votes and use the vice president as a tie-breaker. The health care measure is a reconciliation proposal, meaning it's technically a budget bill. Under reconciliation, public debate on the Senate floor is limited to 20 hours and is not subject to a fillibuster. 

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