As you probably know, there are many Republicans that don’t like the new health care bill that has been unveiled. Sen. Rand Paul unloaded a lot of his frustration to Breitbart News. Although he is not happy with the bill, it seems the root of the problem isn’t the bill but Speaker Paul Ryan. Check out what he has to say. Does it make you think differently of the bill?
In the interview, Paul accused Ryan of misleading President Donald Trump on the process and the level of support in the House for the bill that House GOP leadership—at Ryan’s direction—put forward this week.
The House Freedom Caucus was publicly against this strategy before Ryan even rolled it out. The group of more than 40 House conservatives remains steadfastly opposed to Ryan’s plan on this front, showing no signs of breaking as they signaled before it was introduced, and now many Republican offices outside the House Freedom Caucus privately tell Breitbart News that as many as 70 or more House Republicans are opposed to Ryan’s plan.
Leadership knows this too, they say, as all the “hard no” votes have told the Speaker’s office or the whip teams they cannot vote for this bill. But Ryan is plowing forward, stating at a number of press conferences this week he is confident he will receive the 218 votes he needs to pass the bill—even though he clearly does not have them right now.
When asked what Ryan’s strategy is here, Paul told Breitbart News it makes no sense—and that he believes that the Speaker is deliberately misleading President Trump into thinking he has more support for this bill than he has, and that its fate is not in crisis.
Paul is confident that conservative House and Senate Republicans will stick together, defeat this bill, and then work with President Trump to separate repeal and replacement into different bills passed on the same day down the road. The fact that Paul is saying Ryan is misleading Trump is an explosive charge, but is backed by the evidence of widespread mistrust in the House GOP conference over this bill and Ryan’s waning influence as Speaker—dislike of it extends far beyond the House Freedom Caucus, as Breitbart News can confirm.
Paul told Breitbart News:
I don’t think it makes any sense and I think he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the president. I think when I’ve spoken with president Trump, I think he agrees with me that we should repeal and replace but I don’t think he’s stuck on that they have to be in the same bill necessarily. Paul Ryan, I think, is selling it to the White House and telling the White House, ‘Oh, it’s a piece of cake, it’s a done deal.’ And I don’t think that’s an accurate depiction of things. I think from the very beginning combining repeal and replace in one bill makes it very hard because we have different ideas on replace. We are pretty much united on repeal, but we have different ideas on replace. If the House leadership had come forward and talked to conservatives beforehand, I think they would have found out there is a lot of disagreement and they would have just passed what we already passed—what everybody voted for—and we also have a debate on the same day on a variety of replacement strategies. We still could do that. And I think if the House Freedom Caucus and the Senate conservatives stay together, I still think that that’s one possible outcome. It would be better for all of us if we separated it out with clean repeal and had replacement as a separate bill.
A senior congressional aide in a House Republican office whose member is not part of the House Freedom Caucus told Breitbart News his boss is also opposed to Ryan’s Obamacare 2.0, and that there is much more widespread Republican opposition to Ryan’s plan than leadership originally expected.
“I think you’re looking at 60 to 70 noes right now on the floor,” the aide told Breitbart News. “The phone lines have been blowing up with opposition to what they’re calling Ryan-Care. This is a hell of a Mexican standoff—it’s Freedom Caucus versus Trump, and Ryan who I think is driving the process. Who blinks here? It’s bigger than the Freedom Caucus but the Freedom Caucus has planted their flag on this one. Who’s going to blink first?”
A second GOP congressional aide in another non-House Freedom Caucus office told Breitbart News their boss is against it as well, and that Ryan has “way more than 70 not with him.” These two offices and others that are not part of the Freedom Caucus but are opposed to the legislation told Breitbart News that the only reason they are not publicly coming out against the bill is because they do not wish to create more chaos around this legislation. If Ryan keeps doubling down, and forcing a vote on this, it will get worse, they say.
A staffer in a third GOP office with a member not in the Freedom Caucus but opposed to the legislation even said staff is keeping the member off television to avoid getting connected to Ryan’s Obamacare 2.0. These numbers show that the Speaker has a serious problem inside his conference and has not thought this through.
Paul opened his exclusive interview in his U.S. Senate office in the Russell Senate Office Building by explaining exactly what is wrong with Ryan’s Obamacare bill, a bill he calls “Obamacare Lite.” He said there are four major reasons that Ryan’s bill is wrong; specifically that it creates an entitlement program, that it does not effectively handle Obamacare taxes and even keeps the Cadillac Tax indefinitely, the keeping of Obamacare’s individual mandate, and the keeping of Obamacare’s risk corridors—but simply renaming them.
Paul told Breitbart News:
I think the reason why the House leadership bill is Obamacare Lite is because it retains subsidies. Obamacare had subsidies for people to buy insurance. In the Paul Ryan bill, they keep the subsidies—they just call them refundable tax credits. Some people are predicting that it’s actually going to be more expensive than the subsidies we have under Obamacare. This isn’t you getting your own money back, this is you getting somebody else’s money. So, a family that makes $30,000 a year could actually get $14,000 that they didn’t pay. Let’s say they paid zero in income tax, they could get $14,000 back. One, we don’t have the money—it’s a new entitlement program and two, if you get $14,000 back do you think the insurance company is ever going to sell insurance for less than $14,000? That becomes the floor. So, it actually pushes insurance rates up—it doesn’t allow insurance rates to fall. So, that doesn’t allow insurance rates to fall and it sets up a new entitlement. The second thing that Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Lite bill does is they keep the Obamacare taxes—all of them—for a year. And then after a year, they keep the Cadillac Tax forever. That’s the tax on if you have really good insurance, Obamacare taxes that. So will Paul Ryan’s plan. The third thing they do that is Obamacare-like is they keep the individual mandate. It seems like every Republican says they were against the individual mandate. That’s if you didn’t buy insurance you had to pay a penalty to the government, a tax. Obamacare Lite, Paul Ryan’s plan, just changes it so you have to pay a penalty to the insurance companies. I consider that to still be a mandate that isn’t consistent with those of us who want less government involvement. So they keep the subsidies, they keep the taxes, and then they keep the mandate. Then the fourth thing they do is they actually subsidize the insurance companies. Right now, insurance companies are losing money and Obamacare has this rescue thing called ‘risk corridors’ to bail out the insurance companies. Paul Ryan has got the same thing, he just calls it reinsurance and it’s $100 million worth. I predict that might not even be enough. So I don’t like any of it. Now, I do think we agree as Republicans on repeal. But I don’t think we agree on the replacement. That’s why I say we should separate them, vote on repeal and then vote the same day on a separate bill that’s called replace.