WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump used Twitter Friday to slam Sen. Rand Paul and other Republicans who might oppose the GOP’s last-gasp effort to topple the Obama health care law. Paul fired back, calling the Senate bill “fake repeal” and saying the White House just wants a victory without caring about the legislation’s details.
“Rand Paul, or whoever votes against Hcare Bill, will forever (future political campaigns) be known as “the Republican who saved ObamaCare,” Trump tweeted.
It was Trump’s second attack in three days on Paul, R-Ky., for so far being the only GOP senator to say he’ll vote against the bill in a Senate showdown looming next week. Because of united Democratic opposition, the measure would fail if just three of the 52 Republican senators oppose it. A vote, if there is one, seems certain to be close.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Paul said the measure was “fake repeal” because it would leave in place most of the near $1 trillion in taxes President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul imposed to finance its expansion of coverage. He said all the bill does is set up a “perpetual food fight” over how that money is distributed to states.
The White House “just wants a legislative victory, they’re not as concerned with the policy,” Paul said.
He said top Republicans were “tarting it up with special stuff” for states represented by GOP senators in an attempt to nail down their votes. The measure would shift money Obama’s law uses to help people afford coverage into block grants states would control in spending formulas heavily tilted toward helping Republican-led states.
“I’m not willing to be bribed or do any kind of quid pro quo,” he said.
Paul, who was a Trump rival for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, said he doesn’t resent Trump’s tweets against him.
“I’m a big boy and willing to go back and forth with the president,” he said.