Sen. Kennedy commits to latest Obamacare repeal bill

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said Friday he will support the effort of fellow Louisiana Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Kennedy, a Republican, has previously been non-committal on the Graham-Cassidy bill, but gave his approval of the plan as it's constructed now during an interview with media.

"Graham-Cassidy is not perfect, but it is good," Kennedy said. "My test is whether or not it's better than the Affordable Care Act. It is."

But Kennedy said he has two caveats.

"If it comes to the floor under reconciliation that means there will be no limit on what amendments can be offered," he said. "I don't know what amendments could get on the bill and change it in a way that I can't support it.

"My second caveat is there have been some reports deals are being struck to give special treatment to some states, and I find that very unamusing," Kennedy said. "If a deal is struck that favors other states at the expense of mine I'll have something to say about that."

The vote tally is expected to be razor thin.

Kennedy said he believes the bill will come to the floor Wednesday. "I expect we'll spend all day and night Wednesday and maybe Thursday on the bill," he said.

The senator also staked out his position on tax cuts, which President Trump has said is his next legislative priority.

Kennedy said he would double the standard deduction for individuals and families.

As an example, he said a Louisiana family of four with an annual household income of $60,000 would save $1,700 compared to their current tax bill.

"I think that will have an enormous impact on the economy," Kennedy said.

The senator also said he wants trim business taxes across the board, which he said will create jobs and increase wages.

Finally, he said, "We need to go big (with the tax cuts). Moderation is for monks."

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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