Rand Paul: Republicans ‘Have Insufficient Confidence in What Made America Great’

By Susan Jones | July 3, 2017 | 5:07am EDT
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants the Senate to vote on a clean repeal bill first, then take up a second "replace" bill. (Screen grab from "Fox News Sunday)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a repeal-and-replace advocate, says he wants to expand the number of people who get health insurance at a cheaper price.

“But I would do it through freedom of choice,” Paul told “Fox News Sunday.” I would do it through the marketplace, buying groups across state lines, and letting people save more money in HSAs.

“And I think the problem with Republicans now if they have insufficient confidence in what made America great. That's capitalism, freedom of choice, competition.”

Paul opposes the current legislation proposed by Senate Republicans. And in a recent meeting with President Trump, he advocated repeal first and replace later.

President Trump later tweeted that exact same suggestion, saying last week: “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”

“I don't think we're getting anywhere with the bill we have, we are at an impasse,” Paul said on Sunday.

Every time you add more federal money, more spending for the big government Republicans, it offends the conservatives. So, right now, this bill, which is not a repeal, has become the kitchen sink.

We have nearly $200 billion in insurance bailouts. Does anybody remember us complaining that Obamacare had insurance bailouts? We now have codified nearly $200 billion. There's $45 billion in here for opioids.

So, I mean, the bill is just being lit up like a Christmas tree, full of billion-dollar ornaments, and it's not repeal. We don't repeal the regulations. We don't repeal the subsidies.

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

Paul said he would like to separate the repeal and replace bills, although “I think they could still be done concurrently.” He doubts moderates would vote for a clean repeal bill without a simultaneous replacement plan.

“So, what I've suggested is (separating) big government spending programs from the repeal. Let's do clean repeal like we promised, and I think you can get 52 Republicans for clean repeal. You can have a simultaneous bill or a concurrent bill that they can call replace and that I think perhaps if it's big spending, they could probably get Democrats to go along with big spending. I'm not for that, but I'm saying, I want repeal to work, and the way you do it is you separate into two bills and you do it concurrently.

"Right now, you are right. Senate leadership is not doing that. Senate leadership is loading the bill like a Christmas tree with billion-dollar ornaments, bubbles, you name it. They're going to spend money like there's no tomorrow on the current bill and try to buy off support. That's traditional Washington, but I'm asking for something that's not traditional -- separate the bills," Paul said.

Paul said back in January, he was pushing a single repeal-and-replace bill, “because I thought Republicans believed in replacing it with the marketplace. Now, I've discovered that at least half of my Senate Republican colleagues think replacement means replacement with Obamacare light -- more federal spending and more federal programs. I'm not for that.”

Paul said the only way to get conservative support is to split the bills.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also has urged the president to push for repeal first, then replace.

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