November 22nd, 2009
01:48 PM ET
8 years ago

McConnell: Reid bill 'the wrong direction to go' on reform

Washington (CNN) – A day after his party failed to block debate on a Democratic health care reform bill, the top Republican in the Senate says the country would be better served by a more incremental approach to reforming the health care system.

“We feel that we ought to go step-by-step,” Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

McConnell added that Republicans don’t think trying to enact comprehensive, systemic changes to the health care system is a good idea in tough economic times.

“[The Reid] bill is a job killer,” the Senate Minority Leader also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

McConnell added that small business owners are not likely, in his view, to hire new employees in an environment of higher taxes imposed by Democratic health care reform plans and the expiration in 2011 of tax cuts passed early during the previous administration.

“The costs of adding additional employees will be greatly exacerbated by the steps [Democrats are] taking. This is the wrong direction to go,” McConnell also told King.

Notwithstanding the unity Democrats showed on Saturday night in getting the Reid bill to the floor for debate, McConnell suggested Sunday that the Democratic caucus could fracture under pressure from voters.

“If the majority is hell-bent on ignoring the wishes of the American people, they have 60 votes in the Senate. You would think that they might be able to do this, but I believe there are a number of Democratic senators who do care what the American people think and are not interested in this sort of arrogant approach that everybody - sort of shut up and sit down, get out of the way, we know what's best for you.

“Now, we're hearing from the American people, they don't want us to pass it. So I would - you know, it's hard to handicap the ultimate outcome, whether the majority will ignore the American people or not, but they'll be heard. The American people will be heard. They'll either be heard sooner or they'll be heard later.”

soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. NotFooledTX

    I hear a lot of complaints, but no offer of solutions. No offer of willingness to work to create a better bill. Just complaints.

    The republicans have CHOSEN to take themselves out of the debate and formative process of health care reform. It was their choice. They're "victomhood" is self inflicted. They chose the easy route – instead of working to the best legislation, they have chosen to sit this one out and take a purely obstructionist position. Now they want to start the whole process from scratch?

    Mr. McConnell – if you TRULY wanted to get something done, you'd realize that every process has a starting point – with debate a better bill can be formulated. The claim of starting from scrach is totally ludicrous. It's nothing but theatrics, stalling and displays of their self-created victomhood. Obstruction comes easy, it's crafting the legislation that is the hard work. The republicans folded like cheap lawn chairs choosing to remain on the sidelines – all to the benefit of the republican party and the insurance industry.

    Lead, follow or get out of the way Mr. McConnell – obstructing for the benefit of the republican party just doesn't cut it out here in "real America."

    November 22, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    Republicans continue to march forward by looking through a rear-view mirror. Their final destination is somewhere between the late 1800's and the 1920's.

    November 22, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Saxo Grammaticus

    So the Senate shouldn't even be permitted to debate it? We're all just supposed to accept McConnell's self-serving spin as Gospel?

    With all due respect, Senator McConnell, you represent the party of NO, the party of fear, the party without ideas, the party without compassion, the party that will spend any amount of money to kill people in war and to protect the rights of the rich, the party that resents every dime that reaches ordinary Americans as salary, tax break or entitlement. You have been bought and paid for by those who profit from the status quo, and you toe their party line.

    November 22, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Misdirection, half-truths, and outright lies comprise McConnell's modus operandi. The GOP would rather see Americans die from a lack of affordable care than disobey their corporate paymasters. McConnell is particularly hypocritical, given the fact that his sexual orientation is one of the worst kept secrets in D.C., and he has consistently opposed extending legal and social equality to the LBGT population.

    You're on the wrong side of history, Senator. A surefire sign that the circus is almost over: they send in the clowns, and McConnell is a clown extraordinaire.

    November 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Rosilee

    So, Republican Senator McConnell, what would you do to reform healthcare???......thought so. (Niothing).

    November 22, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Jay from Atlanta

    McConnell, I'm not sure where you get your information , but Most Americans want this health care reform bill to pass. You are wrong for spreading false information.

    November 22, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Sam

    I'm so tired of hearing from republicans what the "american people want"

    I happen to want this bill to pass, so do I no longer have citizenship? Mr. McConnell needs to make the distinction between this GROUP of americans opposed to the bill and all Americans. I certainly know people who are against this bill, but they are not in the majority where I am. I'm sure in some parts of the country, they are. It's just a mixed bag - we're never going to pass any bill, anywhere, that enjoys unanimous support.

    I'm also tired of hearing about the "arrogant" approach of democrats forcing their will on people. First of all, they were elected to do this. Secondly, if democrats got what we wanted, then we would have a single-payer universal health bill on the table. WE ARE ALREADY compromising by agreeing that a market-based health system (a bizarrely immoral approach) can exist. The only reason the bill is so weak is because democrats have given up all the tools that make government run health systems so cost effective!

    November 22, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Marko

    Repubicans don't know what direction to go. They want failure and failure is what they are striving obvious.

    November 22, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Buckeye

    Mitch is the most vehement opponent of campaign finance reform on the Hill. No wonder he's so adamantly opposed to health care reform. Being a puppet of big pharma and private insurance companies is not healthy for our country.

    November 22, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Truth Teller

    I keep hearing the GOP state that they have a better health care bill, so where were they when they were in power? Fact is, they are not interested in everyone getting affordable, decent healthcare. They side with the insurance companies who have had practicing death panels all along.

    November 22, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Mickey

    Hey McConnell, BUSH was the JOB KILLER, you idiot. All this crap that the American people are going through is the product of Republican FAILED policies. If you want to get re-elected, vote for this bill.

    It amazes me what cowards the Republican Politicians are. And their "lemming" followers believe all the lies, which is more pathetic. They are afraid of a freaking DEBATE on the issue. That is because of your small-minded bigotry, fear, and hatred. You people make me sick. You are either WITH US or AGAINST US.

    Vote this bill into law already, and cram it down the Republicans pie hole. Stop the bullcrap already.

    GOP: Evolve or die.

    November 22, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Rob in NC

    Hey Mitch here is a great idea, why don't you and some of your Republican obstructionists try and work on meaningful reform? The bill as it stands stinks, but at least they are trying. If 10 or so Republicans would actually work towards something meaningful we may have a little more balanced health care plan.

    I hope this country realizes what a dangerous game the Republicans are playing. By opposing everything and refusing to work at all to improve this county, they may be ultimately destroying it. The ultimate goal is to make sure Obama fails, at a cost that may just mean our future. if Obama fails the USA fails. At such a critical time we need well thought out compromise to move forward, and that takes real leaders. Unfortunately, Republicans are mad and are going with the take my ball and go home philosophy. Way to go Mitch, way to show real leadership.

    November 22, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Wisconsinite

    OH just shut it your whiner. When the republicans say "The American People" they mean their party. The fact is that when given the details of bills without the lies and deception the American People overwhelmingly support this legislation.

    November 22, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. m jeff

    The Republicans did nothing for eight years except giving the Insurance Companies the go ahead to rob us blind.

    November 22, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Jeanne

    He's right, this bill does nothing to address costs. This entire bill is not about health care, it's about control. The administration decided to make insurance companies the bad guys and a lot of sheeple fell for it. Thankfully, the majority of Americans don't support the House and Senate versions of the bill, but do recognize a need for reform.

    November 22, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Steve in Kentucky

    The person hell bent on ignoring the wishes of the American people is Mr. McConnell and his Republifacist colleagues. Polls show people want something done about health care. McConnell responds by telling lies again and again and again until he apparently believes people don't want health care.

    As a Kentuckian, I'll add that we really did try our best to vote this idiot out of office last year. We came pretty darn close. We're sorry for visiting this guy upon the American people. I apologize on behalf of the Bluegrass State.

    November 22, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Bill

    Translated double talk from McConnell .......
    It means that we have the Republican support to fight a war in Iraq that should never have been started in the first place, and it is okay to continue to spend billions on the war in Afghanistan that was started by their former president. And it is okay to continue the bail out of the financial markets that was started by their president, BUT IT IS NOT OKAY TO SPEND MONEY TO TAKE CARE OF POOR OR MIDDLE CLASS AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO ARE UNDER THE GUN BECAUSE OF RISING HEALTHCARE COSTS.

    November 22, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. steve fielder

    When Senator McConnell talks about going "step-by step" with regards to healthcare reform, what he really seems to mean is "one step forward, two steps back"!

    November 22, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Wanda Hawkins

    McConnell and GOP – you got a better deal so all Americans can have health care??? If so – COUGH it up!! Americans want health care !!!!

    November 22, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Ron

    Absolutely it's a job killer. In an economy where unemployment resides above 10 Percent and destined to go higher, a recession gaining each week, trade deficits at a alltime high, it doesn't take a scholar to understand that if the neighborhood pizza parlor goes out of business, his employees no longer provide the monetary support for the nation. He goes on government subsidized welfare and the tax base deminishes. When the tax base deminishes, we default on our social programs and foreign debts.

    Jeeeze!!!! It's the economy STUPID!!!!

    Not Healthcare!!!

    November 22, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Ethan

    More fear fear fear from the terrorist GOP. We've had enough of the scare tactics. Let's PASS THIS BILL. All of us - individuals, families, businesses of all sizes AND government at all levels - NEED the reforms this health bill contains. Thank you President Obama and the Dems!

    November 22, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Not with their current record on economic fixes!

    Senator McConnell is absolutely correct on this. This huge bill would be an anchor on the American economy for decades. We already have enough government programs to support.

    How about instead if they actually worked on lowering the costs of health care instead?

    November 22, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Jill-IN

    Why does he keep saying that the majority of American people do not want this. Everyone I know whats healthcare reform with a public option and they want it to start sooner than 2013. Sorry Mitch McConnell but you don't speak for all of us.

    November 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Richard Larson

    The Senator and the GOP are so completely wrong about this that they wouldn't recognize truth if it hit them on the nose. Personally, I feel the bill is deeply flawed, especially in terms of the "Stupak" amendment. In my mind that amendment is unconstitutional in that it 's sole purpose is to support a religeous belief in violation of the First Amendment. Otherwise, the bill can be amended and modified as improvements are necessary. The only requirement now is the notion of a necessity of a single payer, non-profit, competitor to keep existing insurance companies feet to the fire regarding coverage and cost.

    November 22, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Carla

    Senator McConnell,

    The majority of the American people want a health bill, plain and simple; and most of us want this with bipartisan leadership. What simply cannot be understood is why your party is so diametrically opposed to working togeher towards this common goal. What you brand as arrogance is what this party has done to this country for the past 8 years and I imagine that what has been particularly galling to you is that you have no one but yourselves to blame. Tax and spend is all that comes from your party in regards to the Democrats, yet your party will not on any level begin to work towards compromise so that this country can be what our forefathers wanted it to be in the first place – One Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. Until all parties come together, then how can you just sit there and let the status quo continue? Leave the rhetoric for the compaign trail, get to work and get this done. Show the rest of this country just how American you are.

    November 22, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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