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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., holds an impromptu news conference outside a room on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 2, 2017, where he charges House Republicans are keeping their Obamacare repeal and replace legislation under lock and key and not available for public view. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rand Paul embarked on a bizarre quest to find the GOP's hidden Obamacare replacement bill


Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) embarked on either the best or worst installment of the "National Treasure" franchise on Thursday by leading a hunt to find the GOP's hidden Obamacare replacement bill. 

Paul launched his search after it was revealed Wednesday that the bill was being kept in a room in the basement of the Capitol for members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to read. 

The room is reportedly being guarded by police, and no one can leave with copies of the bill. 

Paul journeyed over to the House side of the Capitol on Thursday afternoon to see if he could get into to the room where the mysterious bill was being kept. 

He was followed by a trail of reporters and staffers, who documented the quest on Twitter and spawned the new hashtag #WheresTheBill. 

Paul was not able to enter the room.

But he brought a copier with him, just in case. 

Congressional Democrats joined in the search. 

Pelosi offered to have some pups sniff out the bill. 

Political Twitter watched the journey unfold eagerly.

Some suggested the bill was hidden by magic. 

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, also tried to get into the room, but he reportedly was told there was nothing there. 

According to The Hill, Pallone then walked across the hall to the office of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to ask about the bill. He was told to check with the committee chairman, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR).

Here's Pallone on the hunt. 

Paul held an impromptu press conference outside the room to declare his objections to the handling of the bill. 

"This is being presented as if this were a national secret. As if this were a plot to invade another country, as if this were national security," Paul said, CNBC reported. 

"That's wrong. This should be done openly and in the public, and conservatives who have objections -- who don't want 'Obamacare lite' -- should be allowed to see the bill," Paul said. 

Paul has said he has serious concerns over several elements of House Republicans' plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, including the use of a refundable tax credit, which he says is a new form of entitlement program. 

Walden fought back against allegations that House Republicans were being secretive about the bill. 

“Reports that the Energy and Commerce Committee is doing anything other than the regular process of keeping its members up to speed on latest developments in its jurisdictions are false," he said in a statement.  

In his weekly address on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the House and the Trump administration are "in sync" on their healthcare plans. 

The committee is expected to hold a markup of the bill next week. 

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