Vice President Mike Pence showered praise on Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during a roundtable event with business leaders on Thursday in Lexington, Kentucky.
“Now let me say from my heart, the President and I really like Senator Rand Paul,” Pence said. “I’ve known him for a lot of years. He’s a man of principle and conviction. Senator Rand Paul is a great conservative and a great legislator, and he does Kentucky proud.”
“The President and I believe when the time comes, Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul will do the right thing together, and we will pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare and end the Obamacare nightmare once and for all.”
Pence’s laudatory remarks are no doubt part of a charm offensive by the administration ahead of next week’s vote on a major health care reform bill known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate’s version of the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA). The vote is expected to be close, with Sen. Paul and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) having announced that they will vote against the bill, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) still undecided. Given the Republican Party’s narrow majority in the upper chamber, all undecided Senators must vote in favor of the bill if it is to pass.
If the bill fails, the administration has indicated that it will proceed with Sen. Paul’s proposal to divide the health care reform effort into two separate bills: a Republican one to fully repeal Obamacare, and a bi-partisan one to provide a replacement for it.