Cassidy Agrees If They Can’t Win Over Susan Collins, Graham-Cassidy Bill Is Dead

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Appearing on CNN Monday shortly before the one and only hearing on Republican senator’s last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) admitted his legislation is dead if Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) doesn’t get on board.

“If you lose Susan Collins, it’s over, right?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Cassidy.

“Yes, it is,” he said. “But people in Maine, there will be a billion dollars for Mainers who are lower-income to have coverage, which they do not now have, by the way. Four billion for folks in Virginia. So it’s not just Maine.”

He also said Collins knows that a “smart governor” who knows insurance as well as she does “could do a heck of a lot to provide coverage for people in Maine,” referencing the bill’s main focus of converting Obamacare subsidies to block grants that are controlled by states.

Despite indications in the revised text of the bill that money was moved around to try to calm Collins’ and Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) fears about the legislation, Cassidy said he is not trying to buy her vote.

“No, absolutely not,” he said in response to Blitzer’s question. “We’re also giving four billion to Virginia. Two senators who, even though its going to be good for their state, they’re not going to vote for us, we’re giving, I don’t know, five billion to Missouri. … All this is an attempt to make sure somebody in Maine, Florida or Missouri have the same resources as someone in Pennsylvania, Ohio or New York. And why shouldn’t they?”

Cassidy’s comments come after revisions were made to the text late Sunday night in an attempt to get Republican dissenters like Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), as well as Collins and Murkowski on board.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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