Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took a page out of President Trump's playbook and decided to use a nickname for a high profile figure. The senator was on board Air Force Two with Vice President Pence, chatting with the press pool about health care.
In the past few days, Graham has been contacting figures like Alan Greenspan, Jeb Bush, and "Darth Vader" Stephen Bannon to help enact the Graham-Cassidy bill, legislation he is cosponsoring with Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to repeal Obamacare.
Graham's jocose remarks comes a few weeks after Bannon, considered by the media to be a controversial figure, left his post as White House chief strategist.
During a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Graham kept the nicknames to himself, but he reiterated his in-flight remarks about the legislation he's helped draft. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has "done everything he can" to get this bill passed, Graham said. Additionally, House Speaker Paul Ryan told him, "if you pass it, we pass it."
Some key conservatives are still unconvinced the Graham-Cassidy bill will be any better than Obamacare. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote an op-ed explaining how the legislation is just Obamacare lite.
Make no mistake – Graham/Cassidy keeps ObamaCare funding and regulations in place. Oh, it rearranges the furniture a bit, changes some names, and otherwise masks what is really going on – a redistribution of ObamaCare taxes and a new Republican entitlement program, funded nearly as extravagantly as ObamaCare.
Senate Republicans have until Sept. 30 to get the bill passed with 51 votes, before new rules mandate they need 60 votes.
"Now is the time," Pence said.
The Democrats quickly responded with their own presser, with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer insisting Graham and Cassidy are pressuring senators and are trying to "shut down bipartisanship."