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Cotton: ‘There Is No Three-Phase Process’ on Obamacare Replacement, AHCA Doesn’t Have ‘Anything Close’ to Majority

On Tuesday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) stated of the GOP’s Obamacare replacement, “I suspect they don’t have anything close to a majority of their members who are willing to vote for this bill” and “there is no three-phase process. There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. … [T]here is not going to be phase three legislation. It’s phase one and done.”

Cotton said that the CBO’s conclusions should be critically examined to see if they’re “justified.” He added, “I think the Congressional Budget Office is directionally correct. They’re right that coverage levels will go down, in the coming years, under the House bill. They’re also right, I’m afraid, that insurance premiums will continue to go up in the near term, for three to four years, before they start perhaps falling in the long term.”

Cotton added, “The Rules Committee can make substantial changes to any kind of committee draft. They do that frequently, on all kinds of legislation. I suspect that the House leadership will have to do so, because I suspect they don’t have anything close to a majority of their members who are willing to vote for this bill now.”

He further stated, “Just from a practical standpoint, I don’t think this bill is going to reduce premiums for working Americans. I think it’s going to cost coverage, for many Americans, as the CBO said yesterday. So, that’s why I think the Rules Committee might be the place where some of these changes happen. ”

Later on, Cotton argued, “[T]here is no three-phase process. There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why, step one, is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now, on this legislation, altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three, and step two is not completely under our control. … [T]here is not going to be phase three legislation. It’s phase one and done.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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