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It's Rand Paul vs Paul Ryan in the battle over Obamacare — and the future of the GOP

A protester wears a Repeal Obamacare button on his jacket during a Freedom Works rally Wednesday against the proposed GOP health care plan across from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The in-house Republican battle over the repeal of Obamacare is about to boil over as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are engaged in an increasingly sharp war over words over their disagreements on how to proceed forward with the promised repeal and replace of former President Obama's signature legislation.

Paul has been waging a war against the House GOP Obamacare repeal and replace plan since before it was given to the public. Calling it "Obamacare Lite," Paul has lambasted not only the bill, but his fellow Republicans for their less-than-diligent attempts at getting rid of the unpopular health care law. This time, he turned his attention toward Ryan, who has been the bill's primary spokesman.

"I think that Paul Ryan's selling [Donald Trump] a bill of goods that he didn't explain to the president, and the grassroots doesn't want what Paul Ryan is selling," Paul told CNN.

Paul Ryan, during an segment on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," fired back at the Kentucky senator, claiming that his remarks were a jab at President Donald Trump.

"Frankly, I think that's kind of an insulting remark to the president — as if he doesn't know what he's doing," Ryan said.

"We think this is a smarter way to go," Ryan said to Tapper. "The alternative is the status quo, and the status quo is in the middle of a collapse."

Ryan has made the case that this version of the Obamacare repeal bill is the "closest we will ever get" to repealing it.

Paul, however, believes that Trump is open to changing his mind on the health care bill, despite his prior statements of broad approval, and that it's Republican leadership who have "dug in their heels."

"They are not going to compromise. So the only way that we are going to get to a compromise where they listen to the grassroots that wants complete repeal, the only way we got to that compromise is that we have to demonstrate to the House leadership that we have the votes to stop them."

Other Republicans in Congress have joined Paul in his efforts to push a more conservative version of a repeal bill, which focuses solely on repeal, and repeal alone. Rep. Jim Jordan and Paul have both submitted versions of the bill in the Senate and the House, and has the support of conservative legislators such as Rep. Justin Amash, Sen. Mike LeeRep. Jeff Duncan, and Sen. Tom Cotton. This list of allies now also includes a group of moderate Republicans rattled by the recent Congressional Budget Office report.

As the battle continues between the conservatives and GOP leadership, the faith of the voters hangs in the balance, according to the conservatives. Paul believes that should the GOP pass "Obamacare Lite," Republicans will pay for it come election time. Duncan wrote in the Daily Signal that should the bill pass, voters "will feel betrayed."

If that is true, then winner of the struggle between Paul and Ryan may determine the GOP's future momentum.

One last thing…
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