A conservative bloc of Senators is taking a stand to save the Republican health care legislation from becoming another big government boondoggle. While President Trump and Senate GOP leaders debate about how many mandates and giveaways they will put in the new legislation, Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Mike Lee (R-UT) have other plans.
The four men released a joint statement on Thursday saying, “Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor. There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”
The conservative lawmakers are attempting to stop the leftward drift that is currently taking place in health care negotiations. President Trump told Senate Republicans that lawmakers should draft a bill that was “generous, kind, [and] with heart.” He denigrated the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House as too “mean.” Elaborating on what his words meant, Trump claimed that “adding additional money” was one way to improve the legislation.
“Obamacare is dead and we’re putting a plan out today that is going to be negotiated,” Trump said. “We’d love to have some Democrats’ support but they’re obstructionists.”
However, it is not just Democrats who are opposing Trump’s big government health care push. These four intrepid conservative Senators will stand in opposition as well unless serious changes are made to the bill.
“What I’m telling [fellow Senators] is if they get to an impasse, come talk to me, because I’m more than willing to vote for a partial repeal if I can’t get complete repeal, but I’m not willing to vote for new Republican entitlement programs,” Paul said.
As usual, Trump is positioning himself in the middle of the fray. He claimed that the health care bill needed “a little negotiation, but it’s going to be very good.” Only time will tell if Trump will ultimately help the principled conservatives during negotiations, or side yet again with the entrenched Washington D.C. leadership that wants to keep the status quo intact.