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By Juliegrace Brufke
GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told reporters Wednesday that the changes made to the Senate Obamacare repeal bill haven’t swayed him enough to get on board.
Paul — a staunch fiscal conservative — was one of the first lawmakers to come out against the draft legislation, which he felt too closely resembled the Affordable Care Act. Republican leadership was forced to push back their plans to hold a vote on the measure due to a lack of support, and since then has been working with members to tweak the bill with hopes of acting on the legislation in coming weeks.
While the updated version of the discussion draft is slated to be publicly released Thursday, Paul said the changes do little to assuage conservatives’ concerns.
“We’ve had time to hear, you know, what’s going to be in the new bill,” he said. “And as far as I can tell the new bill is the same as the old bill except for it leaves in place more taxes, increases taxpayer subsidies to buy insurance and adds about $70 billion to the insurance bailout superfund.”
Paul said he has made suggestions for changes to the measure, but has not yet heard from leadership on his ideas. The Kentucky Republican has proposed passing a clean repeal while using a second piece of legislation for the replacement language.
“I have told them that splitting the bills could possibly get what they want in the sense that conservatives could vote for a clean repeal and the remaining big government spending items would be put on a bill that they could work with Democrats on.”
Senate Republican leadership is looking to pass the motion to proceed next week, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opted to push back August recess to give lawmakers ample time to complete their work.