McConnell Offers Only Praise For Graham-Cassidy Obamacare Repeal Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, listens to a question from a reporter with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, during ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, listens to a question from a reporter with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, during a news conference of Senate Republican leadership, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) MORE LESS
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September 19, 2017 12:43 p.m.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had plenty of words of encouragement Tuesday for his Republican colleagues’ recent efforts to rally the votes for an Obamacare repeal and replace bill, but stopped short of full-on endorsing the legislation.

Speaking from the Senate floor, McConnell criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) recent roll-out of a single-payer health care bill, calling it a “massive expansion of a failed idea” and saying the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation will provide a better alternative.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) “rolled out a health-care proposal of their own last week,” he said. “It would repeal the pillars of Obamacare and replace that failed law’s failed approach with a new one: allowing states and governors to actually implement better health-care ideas by taking more decision-making power out of Washington.”

He said the notion that governors and state legislators would have the chance to make health care decisions for their own constituents is “an intriguing idea” that has a “great deal of support.”

But after the late-night surprise defeat of Senate Republicans’ last “skinny repeal” plan in July, McConnell appears to be unwilling to throw his full weight behind the new bill until he knows he has the votes. So instead he offered warm words of encouragement as the whipping for votes continues. 

“As we continue to discuss that legislation, I’d like to thank Senator Graham and Senator Cassidy for all of their hard work. They know how important it is to move beyond the failures of Obamacare. They know that our opportunity to do so may well pass us by if we don’t act soon.”

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