When asked on Monday about President Trump calling the House-passed healthcare legislation “mean,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) offered some pointed advice to Republican senators hoping for assurance of political cover from the White House.
“Here’s what I would tell any senator: If you’re counting on the president to have your back, you need to watch it,” Graham said laughingly to reporters. “If you’re looking for political cover from the White House, I’m not sure they’re going to give it to you.”
Graham’s comments appeared to catch legislators off guard and ran counter to the public praise the House bill received from Trump during a celebration ceremony in the White House Rose Garden last month.
A vote could come on the Senate’s new healthcare bill as soon as this week, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) might be fighting an uphill battle to get it passed. The Republicans hold only 52 Senate seats, so McConnell can only lose two votes from GOP senators and then must rely on Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie.
The Congressional Budget Office analysis posed a new challenge for the bill when it revealed that the legislation would result in an additional 22 million people becoming uninsured by 2026.
The current bill also offers reduced financial assistance to those seeking insurance. The CBO analysis found that such a reduction would result in unaffordable premiums for many low-income people who are currently insured under ObamaCare.
“If you were on the fence, if you were looking at this as a political vote, the CBO score didn’t help you,” said Graham, who is reportedly in favor of the bill nonetheless.
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