Washington (CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Tuesday that the GOP will make Democrats' recently passed health care bill the centerpiece of its midterm election strategy.
"Repeal and replace will be the slogan for the fall," McConnell said in an interview on John King, USA.
The leading Republican told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King there were some reforms in the health care bill that could have been agreed to on a bipartisan basis. But McConnell charged that the bill's cuts to the Medicare program, new taxes and the possibility of higher individual insurance premiums were all things that Republicans would like to see changed.
Explaining the "repeal and replace" slogan, McConnell added, "And we're going to remind the American people of that in the future and hopefully we'll be able to repeal the most egregious parts of this and replace them with things we could have done on a bipartisan basis much earlier this year."
McConnell sat down with King on the same day that debate began in the Senate on a second bill of amendments to the main health care bill that Congress passed Sunday. Republicans have already begun to submit a barrage of amendments to the second, smaller bill which are intended to make it very difficult for the second bill to make its way through the Senate unchanged as required by the special procedure Democrats are using to avoid a GOP filibuster.
Asked about the second bill, the Kentucky Republican predicted that the smaller bill would not get any support from Senate Republicans.
"All of our members will vote no," McConnell told King. "And actually a number of Democrats will vote no as well. The only thing bipartisan about this bill will be the opposition to it."
McConnell left open the possibility of more debate over health care reform if his party is successful in preventing passage of the second bill in the Senate.
"The American people expect us to try to change this if we can, and if we can get a simple majority under the procedures that are laid out in this particular measure, we can change it, send it back to the House and continue the debate," McConnell told King. "And the debate, by the way, will not be over today. This is the beginning of it."
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