Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who ran against Donald Trump during the presidential primaries and has remained an occasional critic, issued a warning to fellow Republican senators about dealing with President Trump. When MSNBC’s Garrett Haake asked Graham on Monday about the president’s claim that the healthcare bill offered by House Republican was “mean.” The Congressional Budget Office score on the Senate’s version, which was released on Monday, claimed that 22 million people will lose their insurance if it passes. The House bill is expected to cost 23 million people their insurance coverage.
“If the House bill was ‘mean’ according to the president, at 23 million, what’s the Senate bill?” Haake asked Graham.
“Here’s what I would tell any senator—if you’re counting on the president to have your back, you need to watch it,” Graham replied with a laugh.
Elsewhere, Graham told reporters that he may support the Republican health care bill when it comes to the Senate floor later this week. "I'm not gonna be the guy to take the bill down," he said on Monday night. Currently, there are approximately five Republicans who are opposed to the bill as currently written. Among them is Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Fifty votes out of the 100-member body are needed for passage, assuming Vice President Mike Pence will vote as tie-breaker. Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has taken a wait-and-see approach.
Republicans who are undecided about the bill, Graham said, would probably not receive much political coverage from the CBO report. He cautioned Republicans about voting against Trump.
Graham said that the CBO showed that there are savings to be achieved in the Republican plan over a 10-year period. As for the CBO estimate of that 22 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026, Graham said 15 million of them would lose coverage only because they had pulled out from insurance plans and would be no longer under the Obamacare "individual mandate." "Fifteen of the 22 million are going to drop coverage because they don't have to pay a fine," Graham said. "I think it's a bad decision, but it'll be their decision."