- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday that Republican leaders can’t count on his vote for the GOP’s latest Obamacare repeal effort, as it currently stands, and that he suspects Sen. Mike Lee of Utah feels the same way.

“Right now, they don’t have my vote, and I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s, either,” Mr. Cruz said at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, referring to the Republican senator from Utah and one of his close friends.

“Now, I want to be a yes. I want to get there because I think Obamacare is a disaster,” he said.

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He said it depends on what’s in the package and that the legislation being pushed by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana has some “very good elements.”

He said the best element of the Graham-Cassidy bill is the provision that would take federal Medicaid expansion money under Obamacare and block-grant it back to the states.

Republicans are trying to cobble together 50 votes to get the bill across the finish line this week, and can afford no more than two GOP defections in the Senate assuming no Democrats vote for it.

GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky have voiced their opposition, and GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Sunday on CNN it would be difficult to see a scenario where she would support it.

Mr. McCain and Mrs. Collins have expressed reservations about what they see as a rushed process, and Mr. Paul is opposed to the Medicaid block-grant provision, saying it effectively preserves part of Obamacare.

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