Rand Paul says he’ll vote ‘yes’ on ‘whatever version of CLEAN repeal we can pass’

Rand Paul
Rand Paul. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Rand Paul announced in a series of tweets on Tuesday morning that he will vote “yes” on a motion to proceed to debate on the GOP healthcare bill — as long as the proposal is some “version” of a clean repeal of Obamacare.

“This morning, @SenateMajLdr informed me that the plan for today is to take up the 2015 clean repeal bill as I’ve urged,” Paul wrote. “If that is the plan, I will vote to proceed to have this vote. I also now believe we will be able to defeat the new spending and bailouts.”

A minute later, Paul said he had been told by GOP leadership that the bill will require 60 votes to pass — “votes they do not have,” he said — and will therefore fail. But, he added, if a full repeal is not feasible, he will vote to proceed on “whatever version of CLEAN repeal we can pass.”

The Kentucky senator then repeated his opposition to Obamacare’s taxes and insurance mandates and his support for legislation that adds no new government spending and doesn’t “bail out” insurance companies.

Paul, a libertarian-leaning conservative, has long pressed for a full repeal of Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, and supports a repeal of the law without the passage of a replacement healthcare bill. He has drawn President Donald Trump’s ire for his stance against the GOP’s proposed replacement legislation, the House version of which he dubbed “Obamacare Lite.”

The Senate’s vote on the motion to proceed is the first step in a likely multi-day process of debate and dealmaking in an attempt to make good on the Republican Party’s long promised Obamacare repeal.

On Monday, Paul said senators needed more information on the proposed bill before voting on the motion to proceed and advocated for a Congressional Budget Office score before the vote.

The question is whether McConnell’s plan is to bring up the repeal and replace bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA); the repeal-now-and-replace-later bill, known as the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA); or some other modified version of either.

Bob Bryan contributed to this report.