Interviews

Sen. Paul: There is an easy way to repeal ObamaCare

Lawmaker says everyone should be involved in the effort to repeal the health law

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 2, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, I do know Rand Paul is a senator.  I do know he's a doctor.  I don't know if he's a lawyer.  That could be problematic, but we will see.

The Kentucky Republican, former presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul with us.  

Good to have you, sir.  

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY:  Thanks, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  Are you a lawyer?

PAUL:  Thankfully, no.  

CAVUTO:  OK, good, so we can proceed in English.  

All right, now, I do want to get into health care stuff with you and so much more that is going on, this obviously a huge disruption.  It was huge enough for the market to be disrupted.  So, obviously, it's a big deal, when guys betting money all of a sudden get worried.

Having said that, what do you think of the actions that the attorney general took to recuse himself and, he says, move on?  

PAUL:  Well, you know, I think we need to get beyond this and really start getting to some of the things that need to be fixed in the country.  

The biggest debate in the Capitol and in the country right now is what to do with health care.  And so I think we really need to hone in on that. And I think that hopefully the press conference by the attorney general will help us get on to business.  

CAVUTO:  I don't know about that, though.  You're closer than I am, sir. But I'm getting a sense, especially when the top Democratic leaders are saying, not good enough, the guy has to go, and others have been arguing that, you know, this whole thing might warrant a special prosecutor, is just spiraling out of control?

PAUL:  If we're going to have everybody go that makes a misstatement on whether they met an ambassador or not, we're going to have some people going.  

I mean, we had one senator already on the other side said she never met with a Russian ambassador, until someone looked at her Twitter and found out, sure, she met with the Russian ambassador.  She just forgot.  

So, I think we ought to take a step back here and be a little bit more rational about whether or not it's appropriate or inappropriate for senators to meet with a U.S. ambassador.  

CAVUTO:  All right, I think you're talking about Senator McCaskill.  

But let me move on to this health care thing, because, yesterday, when I had the chance to talk to the treasury secretary, he was very optimistic, Senator, that this timeline to get tax cuts done, approved, voted on, signed, sealed and deliver by August was still good.

And I asked him what was going on with the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare.  And he said, oh, it will be -- it would be resolved by then.  

There's no need to play that -- anything back from, just that to get to you on whether that is in danger, because I was telling him then, as I will tell you now -- and you probably know far better than I now -- that does not look like a smooth sailing thing.  

PAUL:  Well, it sort of depends.  

I think there are things we agree on.  And there's an easy way to repeal it.  Vote on what we voted on a year ago.  And I'm not sure why more people are not saying this.  But we voted a year ago.  And every Republican in the Senate, save one, and every Republican in the House voted to repeal the whole thing, or as much as we thought we could repeal under the rules.  

Why not just put forward what we voted on?  I think they have made it more complicated than it has to be.  But if you add in things that conservatives don't like, if you add an individual mandate back in, which their plan has, you add in a Cadillac tax, which their plan has, and you add in a new entitlement program, that's not conservative.

So you won't get conservative votes.  And they need our votes, so they need to not be dismissive.  They need to not hide their bill somewhere in the basement of the Capitol.  They need to let us see it.  And we're going to have hash this out.

CAVUTO:  Where did they meet?  Where was this meeting going on?  Because, apparently, you were not invited.  

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO:  But where was this meeting where they're cooking this up or crafting this?  

PAUL:  Well, we actually weren't looking for a meeting.  We were looking for the bill.  

And I promise you the bill does exist.  It's written in legislative language.  It's been previewed by the CBO, but it's not been seen by any senators that I know of.  So, we should be allowed to see the bill.

CAVUTO:  All right, so, you know this process, Senator.  The way it works is, they cook this up, whatever.  Then they want a simple up-or-down vote in the Senate on what they produced, right?  

PAUL:  They want a take-it-or-leave-it approach.  

I'm not really for that, because they are going to say, hey, here it comes from the House, take it or leave it.  And I don't think that is the way we ought to do this.  We have had six years to complain, kibitz, and sort of give our opinions on ObamaCare.  There ought to be a legislative process where everyone is involved, not just sort of behind closed doors with a secret bill that no one is able to read before it comes forward.

CAVUTO:  No, I understand that.  

But what it risks, what it risks, and what worries, I guess, the -- some is that, I know you feel this way, Ted Cruz feels this way, Mike Lee of Utah feels this way.  That would assure its defeat in the Senate.  Right?  So, then the fear is that Republicans, they are falling apart.  

PAUL:  But there's another way to look at it, Neil.  

Put forward the bill we already voted on, and you will get unanimous support, you will be done with it, and you can move on to tax reform.  It's very, very simple.

CAVUTO:  But wait a minute.  The bill that you voted on is a simple repeal.  

PAUL:  Yes, simple repeal.  And then put forward replacement at the same time, but as a separate bill.  

See, that's what I have been arguing for.  I would even let the Democrats put forward a replacement, too.  I would gave them a vote.  I would give conservatives a vote on replacement.  

CAVUTO:  But not everyone agrees on the replacement, right, so you're back to square one.

PAUL:  Well, that's what would happen.  You would figure that out through voting.  

So, the big government people, Republicans and Democrats, they want a new entitlement program.  They want Medicaid expansion.  And they want somehow to have federal money pay for all of this.  Let's vote on that as a separate bill from repeal.

CAVUTO:  This is falling apart, isn't it, this whole thing?  

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO:  It's falling -- it seems to me to be falling apart.

PAUL:  No, no, Neil.  No, no, no, no, no, no.

Neil, it's simple.  You vote on complete repeal separate.

CAVUTO:  They don't want to do that.  These guys don't want to do that.  

PAUL:  I know they don't want to do it.  

But if they want conservatives to vote for the repeal, they are going to have to give us complete repeal, separate from all the new government programs they want.  

CAVUTO:  All right, so assuming they don't do that, Senator, then this -- the tax cut thing is delayed, if not off, right?  

PAUL:  Well, no, what happens is, there's a jockeying going back and forth.  

CAVUTO:  Right.

PAUL:  And they will have to see if they can convince conservatives to vote for their plan.  

But I can tell you right now, it will not pass with a new entitlement program, with a Cadillac tax.

CAVUTO:  All right.  

PAUL:  And they keep the individual mandate.  

These are the things we have been campaigning against for years now.  They can't keep ObamaCare-lite and expect conservatives to vote for it.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  All right.  

Senator, thank you very, very much.

PAUL:  Thank you.  

CAVUTO:  We shall see.  

So, they're crafting this up.  Maybe they can settle it.  But, right now, the markets, given the big drubbing today, are getting increasingly worried that maybe not.  

END

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