November 22nd, 2009
01:48 PM ET
9 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. Pam from Louisiana

    Oh really, Sen McConnell is against the reform bill. A few questions for the GOOD senator-What is your alternative plan–what did you do about insurance skyrocketing prices during the eight years your illustrious bush was in office–how much PAC monies did/do you accept from those paragons of virtues, the gluttonous insurance lobbyst?? REMEMBER EVERYBODY–Mcconnell and his cronies have their medical insiurance for life on the TAXPAYERS dime!!! They worship at the knee and kiss the other end of the insurance industry!!! Also those on Medicare get theirs!! I find it galling these so called rep of the people, after lining their pockets, subscribe to the theory that this reform bill is not good for the country.

    November 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. hongli

    I'm sick of just seeing these two men on television.

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

    "An incremental approach to reforming health care"? – Health care reform is an issue that's been worked on now for decades. If we moved at the glacial pace that Republicans wanted, we wouldn't have Health care reform until the 22nd century!

    As far as "ignoring the wishes of the American people", poll after poll have shown that the majority of Americans want health care reform. Part of the platform that the Demorcrats ran on – and which they overwhelmingly won the last election – was health care reform. It's the GOP that are ignoring the wishes of the American people.

    November 22, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Robert

    I don't think the reid bill is totally wrong

    just some things need to be worked on

    November 22, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Chris from NC

    Well, what's the right direction? Honestly, senator, you and your party need to butt out of this argument if all you have to offer is complaints and no better ideas to improve the bill.

    November 22, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. wd

    I am interested in the bill that the Republicans have.Present one so the nation can see what it says. Again, what is the health care plan that all of Congress and the US Senate has, that the tax payers are paying for? I would love to see what they do not want the rest of America would like to have also.

    November 22, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. John Atkins

    Higher income taxes have historically increased jobs. This is because a company essentially gets a discount on employee salaries by reducing it's income tax by deducting expenses against income. A $10/hour employee would actually cost the company $6-$7/hour. During the 1950s the savings was even greater.

    November 22, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. kd

    Then what's the right direction, McConnell? Oh, right – you don't have any ideas, just a lot of negativity toward anything a democrat proposes.

    November 22, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. johnrj08

    MItch McConnell and John Boehner have yet to suggest anything that would actually solve this country's national health care crisis. When you're talking about legislation of this size and scope, it is easy to sit on the sidelines and spew out ideological propaganda against it. It is quite another to roll up your sleeves and work with others in earnest to solve the problem. McConnell is a 100% political creature, with no conscience beyond his obedience to the Republican Party and its 'look out for #1' ideology. And, if I hear this idiot say one more time that the majority of American people are against this reform, I'm going to barf up a lung. He and Boehner probably think that the only polls that count are those run by the Heritage Foundation or Americans for Prosperity.

    November 22, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. Ray Fisher

    I wish McConell would step-by-step his butt into retirement and leave legislating to those who actually want to make progress. His lobby buds can fund his retirement!!!

    November 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. johnrj08

    How many years has McConnell been in the Senate? Whatever number that is, it represents the number of times he could have come up with a reform package himself. In fact, in the dozen years between the time the Republican Party killed Clinton's health care reform effort and the 2006 election, the GOP did NOTHING to fix what is obviously a disastrous system. Why? Because Republicans in Congress are owned and operated by the private insurance industry. And these are the clowns who would have us believe today that the Democrats have it all wrong.

    November 22, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Lynne

    Trust there to be two of the same blogs stating what no ideas, just refections McConnell from Republican John King's show.

    CNN has made a big mistake in giving King an extra hour five nights a week instead of selecting a NEWS person for the Dobbs' slot. Someone who REPORTS the NEWS instead of MAKING news or fanning the flames of media created controversy!! He may have an even smaller audienceq1

    November 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Peter s

    Sen. Mitch McConnell, did you just say "Incremental approach to reforming the health care system". With all respects sir your party had 8 years that is 2,920 to do just what you have said. But you know what? you guys opted for wars rather than the domestic monster called healthcare. Sir, stop whining and complaining about the cost of the healthcare, first and foremost explain to the American people the cost of the two wars and who are the beneficially of the same!

    November 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. tcaudilllg

    Small businesses according to the Republicans' definition = any business that is not a registered for-profit corporation. Meaning, Meijer Stores itself is a small business, which is laughable.

    November 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. ttbala

    Mr. McConnell,

    Why don't you close your mouth, you have no right to speak on behalf of american people, open your eyes and ears, American people want this reform, all you can say we are heading to disaster, why in the world did you let this country come to this point to begin with you idiot, now you sit there and talk on behalf of the American People, you ought to be thrown out of congress and into prison so we do not have to see your face every day and remember you were one of the gang who helped to bring distruction to this great nation and its people, you have no shame!!!!

    November 22, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Wanda

    Excuse me senator, Barack Obama campaigned on health care reform and the MAJORITY of americans voted for him. You and your party do NOT care about health care reform or you would have done something about it while GWB was in office. What makes me sick is that my tax dollars pays for your health insurance but You don't think the average working american who can't afford insurance deserves health care like you enjoy. ARE YOU BETTER THAN THE REST OF US ?

    November 22, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Jeff in SF

    McConnell thinks that ANY direction is the wrong way to go.

    November 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Flagship, NC

    “We feel that we ought to go step-by-step,” Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

    So I guess the Big Insurace Companies are paying him by the month to delay any passage of the Health Insurance Bill.

    Mitch McConnell should have just asked the Big Insurace Companies for a lump sum bonus to stop passage at any cost.

    November 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Perusing-through


    The quest for healthcare reform is nearly 80-years old. And during that time Republicans have done their best to block, stop, shred, and hijack reform.

    Now Sen. McConnell would like the American middle-class to believe Republicans suddenly care about health coverage enough to want to fix it "step-by-step". Liar, Liar, Liar! Why didn't this liar fix it when the Republicans had control of Congress and the White House the previous 8-years?

    November 22, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. A cynic

    This seems like half a story. One would presume that after making such negative statements about the current proposal that McConnell would offer up his own. I suppose the absence of an alternative plan implies that McConnell believes the current status quo is acceptable?

    Plus, unless I'm wrong or the polls are completely skewed, last time I checked the majority of Americans actually want a public option similar to what is being proposed. Understood that there are ways to make any poll provide the answer you are looking for but I've not yet seen a legitimate poll that shows a majority opposition to a public option. If this is correct, then it seems the Republican opposition is a minority opinion.

    I would prefer thought dialogue on this topic but I fully expect epithets to be thrown my way, mixed in with a healthy dose of talking points and memes such as "death panels!", "you must hate America!", etc.

    So, I'm not sure why I'm actually posting anything because the possibility of meaningful debate among the citizens is remote.

    November 22, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Joe Price

    Mitch McConnell does not represent the views of all Kentuckians. He most definitely does not represent mine. Looking forward to the day when he's not in office. One obstructionist fewer!

    November 22, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. NadineCA

    And once again, he says nothing about helping the uninsured and underinsured Americans who are suffering and dying daily because of our horrific healthcare system that's desperately in need of reform.

    November 22, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. tcaudilllg

    Small businesses according to the Republicans' definition = any business that is not a registered for-profit corporation. Meaning, Meijer Stores itself is a small business, which is laughable.

    McConnell, you have a choice: you can support this bill which is destined to pass, or you can fight it and inflict yet another unfortunate stain on your legacy. Do you really want to be remembered as the guy who tried to kill U.S. health care reform? Think of how you'll be deplored by later generations... that little building they named after you will only be a reminder of the worst KY Senator of the 20th century. (and probably the worst period of the 21st).

    November 22, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. CAW in MD

    Prove it. Show me the majority of people who don't want this passed. Every poll I've seen is pretty much dead even. McConnell's constituents might not want this bill passed, but don't generalize to "the American people", because that just isn't so.

    And if McConnell is so concerned about what the American people want, why is he not supporting a public option? A clear majority of Americans want that. Or is this just another example of Republican hypocrisy?

    It is beyond time to start calling these people on the carpet and make them prove, with actual facts, all these allegations. If they can't, they should be held up to public ridicule.

    November 22, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. unshrub

    Anything the Democrats do McConnell with say it's the wrong thing. What he says is meaningless because he just disagrees with Democrats. When the Democrats do something popular he cries and complains that they are just doing something because it's popular. Using his logic we should immediately get out of both wars and bring our people back. This guy is an idiot, a big cry-baby idiot.

    November 22, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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