President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning endorsed the latest effort by Senate Republicans to push through a bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act, calling it legislation that would help Republicans fulfill their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
In two tweets, the president urged Senate Republicans to support the measure, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La.
"I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to States!" Trump tweeted.
In his second message, he took a swipe at Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has criticized the measure as insufficient, calling him a "negative force" in the effort to repeal and replace the existing health-care law.
"Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he is such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare," Trump wrote. "Graham-Cassidy Bill is GREAT! Ends Ocare!"
The comments are Trump's first public endorsement of the effort. But for over a week, Vice President Mike Pence has lobbied lawmakers forcefully in favor of the bill.
It is not clear, however, what effect Trump's endorsement will have. He has made private phone calls to lawmakers in the past week, according to administration officials. But until now, he had avoided making public comments on the bill, a stark contrast to his engagement on previous failed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Shortly after the president's tweets, Paul responded with his own tweets, renewing his criticism of the bill.
"#GrahamCassidy is amnesty for Obamacare. It keeps it, it does not repeal it," Paul wrote. "I will keep working with the President for real repeal."
"Also currently working with the President to finalize better replacement with cross state purchase of inexpensive insurance. Coming soon!" he added.