Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was undecided about whether to vote to move forward debate on repealing and replacing Obamacare in the Senate until the last minute. Before the vote, he hopped off the fence to join Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in proceeding debate after receiving assurances that his amendment for a clean repeal would receive a vote.
McConnell actually lived up to his word, and Paul got his wish. A vote for the amendment to repeal Obamacare was taken yesterday, and it was voted down by a 45-55 margin. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), John McCain (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rob Portman (R-OH) voted against the amendment. Most of those legislators had previously voted to repeal when they understood it had no real chance of passing during the Obama administration.
Paul was certainly able to get many turncoats on the record to expose their hypocrisy, but his move to push forward debate could ultimately result in an Obamacare bailout being passed. It is too early as of right now to tell whether Paul’s gamble will ultimately pay off.
“I think it’s a good news that more Republicans actually supported clean repeal. It’s disappointing, though, that many Republicans who promised to vote for repeal, already had voted for this repeal, chose this time not to vote for it,” Paul said in an interview on FOX News’ “Your World.”
Sen. Rand Paul in his interview with Neil Cavuto indicated that he would be willing to support a skinny repeal. Although the legislation is not up to his standards, it would still amount to small steps in the right direction for struggling American families.
“The reason I will advocate and vote for skinny repeal is that it’s the best I can get, given the colleagues that I have. You send me some better colleagues, and I will repeal more of it,” Paul said. “But ObamaCare itself is a disaster. It’s caused premiums to double in the individual market, and I want to get rid of it.”
A skinny repeal could encompass the individual and employer mandate provisions of Obamacare being abolished with a few of Obamacare’s tax increases being slashed or cut entirely. Unfortunately, a faux-repeal such as this is the best Senate Republicans can possibly hope to accomplish. Worse yet, a full bailout of the insurance companies may be possible if Democrats become willing to play ball.
Two days ago, Paul could have shut down debate and discussion completely and killed any chance for Obamacare to be repealed and replaced. His vote was ultimately the deciding one, with Vice President Mike Pence coming in and breaking the tie. If the Senate ends up approving something much worse than Obamacare, Paul will not be without responsibility–even if he ultimately casts a ‘no’ vote for the measure.