Interviews

Sen. Rand Paul makes the case for a repeal now, replace later plan

On 'Your World,' lawmaker advocates for a clean repeal bill and a separate spending bill

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 30, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, the president tweeting again, but this one had a little bit more impact here, the president referring to the debate back and forth of the GOP health care plan: "If Republican senators are unable to pass what they're working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date."

Now, I can swear that is what my next guest was talking about when he was last here a few days ago. I'm talking about Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul.

Senator, good to have you.

I imagine he's heeding that call.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY: Well, you know, he and I have discussed it. And I think he's open to it.

And I think we're at an impasse. The bill we have is not really repealing ObamaCare, but now it's being sweetened up with a lot of federal spending. And that's in the context of a $500 bill deficit. Next year, the predictions are that we are going to have a trillion-dollar deficit.

And I can't see loading up a Republican repeal bill with all kinds of goodies, I mean, a super fund for insurance bailouts, super fund for opiate abuse. You name it. There's a super fund for about anybody that wants money in this bill now.

But it's just not the right way to go. But you could fix it if we have a clean repeal and then you have a separate spending bill that, for the big- government Republicans who think spending is the answer, put it on a bill that the Democrats like, and they can work with the Democrats on the big- government aspect to it.

But let's have a repeal bill, because that's what we promised. We promised to repeal it.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But if you have a repeal bill, then -- I understand.

But if you have a repeal bill, Senator, what happens to the existing measures and coverage in place under ObamaCare now?

PAUL: I think what we do is, we try to honor our promise to repeal it. And we would repeal as much as we can get the votes to repeal.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Last time we tried a repeal effort, right, it was every Republican senator but Susan Collins of Maine, if I recall.

PAUL: Right.

And I think we can do that again.

CAVUTO: Really?

PAUL: And it repealed most of the taxes. It repealed some of the regulations. And it sunsetted the subsidies and sunsetted the Medicaid expansion.

But we don't really go nearly half that far now with the new repeal bill. In fact, the new repeal bill at -- the last time I was notified has an insurance bailout fund. It was $110 billion. They now have increased it to $180 billion.

We were at $2 billion for opioid abuse. Now we're $45 billion. My understanding, from talking to people, we appropriated money last year for opioid abuse. They haven't spent what we appropriated last year. They cannot yet figure out where to spend the money. And now we're going to have a super fund.

So, I mean, this has gotten crazy. I think, if we separate the bills, let's honor our promise. Let's repeal ObamaCare. It's very complicated to fix it. Let's work with the Democrats on the fixing part, but on the repealing part, let's get it done.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I'm sorry, sir.

When would you work on that part? Because it's obvious that there is broad-based support, almost unanimous among Republicans, for repealing it.

But waiting a long time to find a replacement and I guess going on to taxes could be problematic, too. Right?

PAUL: I think you could do it concurrently.

CAVUTO: Really?

PAUL: In fact, I think in the next three weeks, you could present two bills, one that repeals it, or as much as we can agree to, and the other one that has a bunch of spending programs on it, could be on the SCHIP bill. This is a form of Medicaid for children.

It goes through usually overwhelmingly. If there are spending proposals, put it on that bill. But let's keep the repeal bill a repeal bill. You won't lose conservatives.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Those spending proposals, are they a new health care act? Or how-- what would you call them?

PAUL: Well, what it would be is, it's a reauthorization of a program. But it typically has unanimous support from Democrats. And it will get half the Republican Caucus.

So, you will probably end up being able to pass spending bills separately.
But you could do it concurrently. In fact, you could do it the same day.

You could say to the moderates, we're going to give you more spending over here, but it's going to be on a separate bill. And then you say to conservatives like me that are worried about the debt and think that we're going to ruin the country, I can't vote for all that spending.

So, if you want my vote, clean up the repeal. Don't put all the Christmas ornaments and billion-dollar goodies on it. Just give me repeal. And if the Democrats and the big-government Republicans insist on Christmas ornaments that cost $45 billion and $180 billion, it will be on a different bill that they can do with the Democrats. You could do them the same day.

And then...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, you could.

I don't know. A lot of stuff that seems easy, Senator, doesn't happen. But the one thing I did...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: What would happen then to all the taxes in the Affordable Care Act?

Because one of your colleagues, actually several have talked about hanging on to the 3.8 percent surtax on rich folks. All that would go under your plan. Right?

PAUL: They need to go back and listen to themselves. They all ran for office. Virtually every one in the Senate ran and said repeatedly they were for repealing ObamaCare. They didn't say they were repealing half of it or some of it, except for some of the taxes. They said they were for repealing it.

And so people at home need to give them an earful. And I'm hoping over the next week they will get an earful. Why aren't you doing what you promised? And so we're hearing from the left. We need to hear again from the Tea Party movement and the right and let people know we want them to honor their promise.

CAVUTO: In the meantime, all this time, we wasted, right?

PAUL: No, we will still get there. I'm actually still optimistic, believe it or not, that something is going to happen. And I think the president is, too.

And I think if the president pushes the...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Was he bitter? Was he angry when you talked to him?

PAUL: No. We had a great conversation.

And I think he wants the same things I want. I think he has a conservative vision for the country.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But this is what he originally wanted to do. He originally wanted to do this, right? So, I imagine he was a little upset.

PAUL: Yes, and it's similar to what I wanted to do. I wanted to do repeal and replace, but always in separate bills.

CAVUTO: Right. I remember that.

PAUL: And I think we were talking past each other.

But separate bills makes it easier logistically to pass the repeal bill. But if you load the repeal bill with a lot of federal spending and it worries people like me who already see the deficit going to a trillion next year.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Rand Paul, thank you very much on this very busy day.

PAUL: Thank you.

CAVUTO: And you contributed a lot to that news yourself.

Thank you, sir. Very good seeing you.

END

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