February 28th, 2010
11:38 AM ET
11 years ago

McConnell predicts no Senate GOP support for health care bill


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that last week's White House health care summit was a chance for his party "to display some of our brightest, most knowledgeable Republicans" on the subject of health care policy. (Photo Credit: CNN)

Washington (CNN) – Just days after a bipartisan, televised 7-hour White House summit on health care reform, the leading Republican in the Senate predicted that his entire caucus will act in lockstep and none will vote for the final provisions of health care reform legislation likely to be presented in the next month.

Sen. Mitch McConnell said twice Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that he does not think a single Senate Republican will support the final legislation.

And, in the absence of any GOP support in the Senate, McConnell also predicted that congressional Democrats will proceed to use reconciliation, a Senate procedure reserved for budgetary matters which will allow Democrats to pass some aspects of their health care reform agenda without having to face a threatened Republican filibuster.

Asked about the GOP’s staunch refusal to play ball with President Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats after a year’s worth of legislative work on health care reform, the Senate Minority Leader defended the position of congressional Republicans.

“That would be great but that’s not enough to compensate for this massive government takeover of the U.S. health care system,” McConnell told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley after she asked whether Republicans could support a final bill that included meaningful medical malpractice reform, a top GOP priority. “It’s just simply not a symmetrical trade-off, if you will. That would be a step in the right direction but I don’t think that alone is going to get many of our votes.”

Even though McConnell appeared to concede that last week’s summit had not succeeded in breaking the policy logjam over health care, the Kentucky Republican praised the event as being positive overall for the GOP.

“We had a chance on Thursday to display some of our brightest, most knowledgeable Republicans. I thought it was actually very good for us because it certainly refuted the notion that Republicans are not interested in this subject, are not knowledgeable about it, and don’t have alternatives. And we laid out a number of different things that we think will make a lot more sense to go step-by-step to fix the cost problem [in health care].”

In an interview that aired earlier on State of the Union, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to concede that there was no hope of Democrats and Republicans working together in a meaningful way to craft a final health care reform bill.

“Let me say this,” Pelosi told Crowley. “The bill can be bipartisan, even though the votes might not be bipartisan, because they [Republicans] have made their imprint on this.”

Pelosi also suggested that the two parties have fundamental ideological differences that might never be bridged.

“And so what we’ve had is the year of trying to strive for bipartisanship,” the California Democrat said, recounting the last year of wrangling on Capitol Hill, “as I say, over 100 Republican amendments in the bill. And the Republicans placed their own bill on the floor, here in the House, which insured 3 million. Our bill insures over 30 million. So we have a different value system here.”

After spending the better part of the last year focused on trying to pass a comprehensive health care reform bill, Democrats have now set the end of March as their new target date for getting a bill through Congress. President Obama will announce “the way forward" on the health care bill next week, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday.

In the meantime, it is an open secret in Washington that Democrats are preparing to use reconciliation to pass their bill with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. Democrats have been forced to consider use of the procedure because a upset loss last month in a Massachusetts special Senate election has left them one vote short of the 60 votes they need to block a Republican filibuster of a health care reform bill.

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

Filed under: GOP • Health care • Mitch McConnell • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Gil Oberdas

    Boehner and McConnell have their Party of No zombies all in lock step. Soon there is the Loyalty Oath they will be asked to take.
    Where is their desire to help Americans that aren't rich?

    February 28, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Emilee

    Republicans now look foolish...spineless do-nothings!

    February 28, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Hahaha,and now their bagman tells us,like we didnt know that from the start.Time to use the Rooesvelt big stick I guess and take names later.

    February 28, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. jane

    The Republicans do not want or care about a health care bill - in any form. What they want is to do nothing. For every concession the Democrats make, the Republicans will only move the goalposts.

    The party who cares about the plight of millions and millions of Americans with poor health care is the Democratic Party. They should pass this bill any way they can.

    February 28, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Brett

    The GOP has NO SOLUTIONS of their own and really don't want to hear from anybody else.....they have to re-pay all the lobbyists for their hugE campaign contributions, therefore, NO REFORM!!!!

    February 28, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. bob

    The GOP ideas are in the bill, as was pointed out in the televised meeting. So what they really want is NO healthcare reform. They don't even want their own ideas passed.

    February 28, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Lexie27

    The qualifications of being a Republican is to sit and blurt out whatever is on your mind and manage to look like a big, burly thug. Scare the crap out of everybody with lies and falsehoods and oh, be sure to vote NO on everything!!

    February 28, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. librarian

    What else is new ?We will pass this bill without the party of NO.

    February 28, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. annie against biased news

    Come on GOP don't just say NO – SAY 'HELL NO'

    February 28, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Ender

    You mean the party of NO is going to stamps there feet and say NO?!?!?!?



    I'm shocked.

    It's -their-way or NO way.

    The Dems should just call their bluff and bring it to a vote. Let the foolish Repubs fillibuster for the next 8 months. See how many will vote for them when they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will not allow -anything- to be done unless -they- are in the majority.

    February 28, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. John

    Not one? I guess this shows where the Republicans stand on bipartisanship, even though many of their ideas have been incorporated by the Democrats into the bills. It is now high time to use the reconciliation process, and get the job done! The current system is unsustainable, and 45,000 deaths per year due to lack of insurance is unacceptable!

    February 28, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Anthony

    Thanks for no solutions mitch....Get a savings account incase you get sick..BRILLIANT IDEA!!! Not sure why people dont just do that.

    February 28, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Chuck

    Who is this guy??? He sits in Washington with his big salary and medical benefits that second to non! This is the reason why my wife and I will never vote for a Republican. He is pushing Independents such as us into the Dem. Party.

    February 28, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. donna

    As David Gegan said.....the summit was "one of the best days for the GOP" as they had chance to show that they had many ideas on health care reform.

    Democrats will pay a big price if they really try to ram this through after latest poll shows almost 60% of americans are against using reconciliation to ram it through.

    All major legislation passed historically like civil rights, social security, medicare, reagan era tax policy, foreign policy, etc have had significant bi partisan support. This was because there was a recognition by leaders of both parties that if legislation that impacts a vast number of americans does not have bipartisan support then it will not have the needed public acceptance and support. Now the democrats are trying to ram this through against the wishes of the american people with no buy in from the minority party......unprecented in american history if they even try to do it!!

    February 28, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Keith in Austin

    Informed Americans fully understand why the GOP will not vote for Obamacare.

    Simply put ask yourself the following question: Would YOU vote to give a crack-addict your credit card?

    Nuff said!!!!

    February 28, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. j

    Anyone that wasn't already aware of that hasn't been paying attention. It's time to kick the stick in the mud, do nothing Republicans out of office.


    February 28, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Bill

    If I hear 'government takeover of health care' one more time...

    It's propaganda and the right knows it.

    Once again, Republicans side with big business over the needs of the American people. I guess some things never change.

    February 28, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Gary

    That's not a prediction, thats an order. Ask Brown what happens when you don't follow orders.

    February 28, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Mollie

    Republicans look and act like a bunch of stubborn, over privilaged brats.
    Too bad they're old and grey, they need to be jerked up and spanked!

    February 28, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. Jeet

    Mitch McConnell is not telling the truth and again is just adding to the republican propaganda that the proposed healthcare reform is a "government takeover". The fact is that the republicans have offered no alternartive to the proposed healthcare reform except to say "no" and to stay to start over. On one hand he and the republicans are insisting that the tort reform be included in the healthcare reform bill, which is equivalent of a government control, on the other hand these republicans are not concerned that 30 + million americans do not have healthcare coverage. This is hypocrartical at the very least.

    The only thing the republicans are interested is winning in November and it will cost the americans a lot, both in the short-term and long term, not just in terms of dollars, but in terms of lives as well.

    Wave up republicans, you are ruining the country that you say you are protecting. Also, stop lying which has always been a practice by the republicans.

    The fact is the healthcare reform does not have any government owned piece in it but all private run businesses. However, it does ask the businesses to be responsible to the public. What;s wrong with that.

    Mitch McConnell and republicans get their healthcare insurance. What if they cannot get it? What will they say then.

    Wakeup republicans: you are being fed a lie by your republicans leaders whom you sent to DC. Show them that you want results and not just pay their salaries and expenses.

    Pass this healthcare reform now as it is needed and is the best one proposed so far.

    February 28, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Ellyn

    The qualifications of being a Republican is to sit smuggly and say "NO" to everything!

    February 28, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. JLM

    Start over=Stall over.

    February 28, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Fitz In Texas

    Being an Independent I say good move GOP.

    February 28, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    Of course they won't. We all knew this from the start-this isn't news. They had control of both houses and the white house and did nothing, nor did they try. Failure for Obama is their only objective. Wake up America, its time for all reasonable Americans to stand up for our country before we slide over the precipice.

    February 28, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. JohnRJ08

    Anybody who is shocked by this announcement from McConnell has been on the surface of the Moon for the last year. The GOP was never going to support this or any other bill supported by this president. Even they agree with many of its provisions on camera during last week's summit, they will not compromise and vote for it.

    February 28, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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