Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) revealed Sunday that he would join fellow Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Susan Collins (R-ME) and possibly Mike Lee (R-UT) in breaking with GOP leadership and opposing Graham-Cassidy, the bill which will be the Republicans’ last chance to repeal and replace Obamacare while only requiring a simple majority.
During the Texas Tribune Festival, Cruz explained that he and Lee had proposed a series of edits to the Graham-Cassidy bill that would have secured their votes, but when those edits were scrubbed, he decided to turn away from the controversial legislation.
“Mike Lee and I both sat down with Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy last week,” he said. “We laid out a series of changes we want to see in the bill that is all about giving consumers more freedom, lifting the regulation from the federal government that is driving up premiums so that premiums can go down and more people can afford health insurance.”
“So last week, they took our edits,” Cruz continued, “and we said if you take these edits, we’re a yes. They took our edits, and then a day later they removed our edits.”
That was enough to turn Cruz away for good.
“So look, right now they don’t have my vote, and I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s either. Now, I want to be a yes; I want to get there because I think Obamacare is a disaster.”
The GOP only has until September 30 to repeal and replace Obamacare with 51 votes, which means that the Republican Party can only afford to lose two votes on Graham-Cassidy in order to unilaterally pass it.
However, McCain announced his opposition to Graham-Cassidy on Friday along procedural grounds, while Paul emerged as an early “no” vote and a fervent critic of the bill. On Sunday, Paul indicated that he may support the bill if Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) made substantial changes.
Collins also expressed doubt that she could be persuaded to support the Graham-Cassidy bill but claimed that she would wait until the Congressional Budget Office makes an assessment to come to a final decision.