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. badger

    Hard to believe this guy can say anyt;hing besides they had more time than we did, he has the mentality of an eighth grader. The Republicans believe just saying no will win them the majority, hopefully people will realize what Republican's stand for NO unemployment extention, NO Health care for all, NO jobs bill, NO to voting on appointments, NO to anything that could help American's move forward. What they do stand for is YES to corporations controling the American People, YES to spying on the American People, YES to dividing America, YES to the dumbing of America, YES to being War Mongers.

    The Democrats should pass health care just like the Republicans passed welfare reform, use reconcilation.

    February 28, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. independent

    Party of No.
    No solutions,
    No discussion,
    No opposition,
    No compromise,
    No progress,
    No global warming,
    No foreigners,
    No minorities,

    February 28, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. GOPer

    This is news?

    We all knew this since day 1.

    This senator is a joke!

    February 28, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. David Hanegraaf

    That is the most insightful statement McConnell has ever made. Duh! Funny what people saw when viewing the summit. I saw a lot of GOP'ers talking party speak. I saw a president making a real effort to come to some sort of agreement. with do-nothing GOP'ers. Let us all remember that when the GOP was in control they did nothing on health care except an unfunded drug bill, which in the end provided a job as head of the pharmaceutical lobby for the GOP'er who wrote the bill. Hmmmmm Head of the pharmceutical lobby. Wonder whose pocket the GOP is in? Think about that the next time you pay mucho dollars for your next prescription.

    February 28, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Minnesota gal

    So what's new. We all know that the republicans want all the democrats out there to die. Why then would they support a bill that would give health care to poor and middle class.

    These republicans should have their health care that we, the taxpayer are forced to pay for, that way there would be more money to provide for those who can't afford it.

    If you asked any of the greedy and dishonest republicans to drop their health care they would say no. McConnell is the poorest excuse for a human being out there, except for Bunning. Where in the world do these people come from. They profess to be Christian, but all they want to do is cut benefits, and social programs for the poor and middle class, while dining on luxuries themselves. Look at Bunning no compulsion whatso ever to cut funds off for people who will now have no way to pay for food on the table for their children. And to pay for a roof over their head. Maybe they should all gather at Bunnings house and ask him if the can come in. Then he could give them some of that 100K he takes out of his non-profit charitable organization. Which he has had for the last decade, and which has not seen one cent got to any charity. As of now I know of over 100 requests for C.R.E.W. to look into this. What he is doing is not only unethical but it is ILLEGAL. Didn't the get Newt the toot on that and he resigned from the House.

    February 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Bob in Florida

    Disappointed Candy allowed McConnell to lie about a Govt takeover and imply the Medicare cuts would impact services. The Medicare cuts are mostly to eliminate using Medicare funds to give entitlements to Insurance Companies. I think most Americans believe the entitlements should directed toward the American people instead.

    February 28, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Chris

    The Republicans at the summit took the stand that they want the government to do pretty much nothing about health care. They are blindly commited to their ideology of the free market. That left completely on its own, the invisible hand of the market place will always magically fix everything. Except health care has been a problem since Teddy Roosevelt's time and it keeps getting progressively worse decade after decade. The other day Congress had a hearing where a woman testified that her monthly insurance premiums were costing her more than her mortgage. Another man said that his insurance rates had nearly doubled in less than a year. Does anyone think the free markets is going to correct these trends without some sort of goverment intervention?

    There was a cartoon in the paper this week. It showed a couple living in a cave and the husband saying something like: "It's a great economic theory, if just ignore the actual results." The problem with the Right is they are so in love with the concept of law of the jungle style capitalism but fail to accept that its real life pursuit has led to nothing but economic catastrophe.

    Capitalism may be a great system for products and services such as tennis shoes or a car wash. Excepts nobody dies if they buy a pair of cheaply made shoes or gets a spotty car wash. The end product of health care is a person's well being. As long as medical services are being run by for-profit corporations, profits will always come before people. And that is an inherently flawed system.

    February 28, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Who is really a "socialist"?

    Check out your latest SS benefits statement for the answer.

    After paying into SS for 42 years I have paid $84,223, my employers paid $84,378.

    After paying into Medicare for 42 years, I have paid $19,928, my employers paid $19,928.

    If I retire at 66 the full payment amount will last exactly 6 years and 3 months and then I will have exhausted my total “paid” amount. After that, I will be a “socialist” living off the backs of others after their “wealth has been redistributed” to pay for my monthly stipend.

    If I should get ill at 65 then the 40K could be used up in one quick hospital stay. Now, I am a “socialist” times 2, living off the fruits of others for my healthcare.

    To all the old tea baggers claiming they “paid” for SS and Medicare, you are ignorant and moronic liars. You partially paid for it but unless you die within 7 years, then you too are a free-loading “socialist” with your “hand out“ for the next monthly check, except you have the free time to travel the country by bus screaming against “socialism“!

    To all the Reds that want “small government”, should we euthanize those that have exceeded the “paid” amount into both “entitlement“ programs?

    The “compassionate conservative” Reds would respond with YES, and do a month early so there is still money in the accounts to pay for it!

    Who knew the answer to the "christian" WWJD question would be to kill all the old and infirmed “socialists”?

    February 28, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. T'SAH from Virginia

    "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."

    BUT – even though there is a lot of agreement WITH the bill – RepubliCAN'Ts stated over and over again at the summit that "...we believe we have a better idea..." "... le'ts start over with a BLANK piece of paper..." "...let's go step by step..." "...we may be closer together than most people think..." "...we agree with most of it..." etc.

    They AGREE but don't AGREE!! Who cares if a SINGLE RepubliCAN'T does not support the final Senate bill! Starting over with a BLANK piece of papaer means NOTHING!!! And NOTHING will be accomplished even if the RepubliCAN'Ts are involved – JUST LIKE NOW!!!!!

    February 28, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Donnatella

    Surprise Surprise!!! Lowlifes, I wish that when Cheney got sick they had of sent him home to die because he had a previous heart attack.

    February 28, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. bobarb

    I am so sick of the Republicans fighting health care reform. Ryan (R-WI) receives so much money from the insurance industry it is almost a sin. And this comment – let's tear it down and start from the beginning........well, what have they been doing for the past year? Is all they have been doing is talking against Obama? Haven't they gotten anything started? I am soooo sick of the partisanship and the obvious not caring about their constituents. They all voice that they care, but we middle Americans know they just want to keep their PACs coming in, and they just keep feeding at the public trough while we keep filling it up. Am I frustrated? Yes. Am I disgusted? Yes.
    Do I think it will get better? No.

    February 28, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Rodney Tietz

    The Democrats who do answer these comments are like sheep they will follow their shepherd ( Obama ) to the lake and once he says jump they will and by gosh who will be left standing high and dry on shore none other than their shepherd ( Obama ). Wake Up, the lake is closer than you think.

    February 28, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Ken in NC

    It would be so funny it there was some way for Democrats to pass the bill with a Public Option in it to give Insurance Companies compitition and then listen to them scream that they will go out of business against the Public Option. The Industry would want it's money back from all the members of the Congress and Senate they own and I would be standing on the dock when the Insurance ship sails out for the last time wishing them all the worst on their trip with no life boats LOL.

    To show how stupid and greedy they are, if the insurance industry, drug industry and hospitals had not driven their monthly charges so high we would not be wanting to make all these changes, however, greed and stupidity trumps common sense. They couldn't be happy with reasonable profits. They have to bleed the people dry.

    My solution to the health care companies and drug companies is get sick and die and take all your bought and paid for House and Senate members with you.

    February 28, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Randy

    "Massive government takeover of the US health care system"???
    Senator, read the bill carefully: There's no public option in it. You're lying plain and simple.

    February 28, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    This “liberal socialist always waiting for a welfare hand out” is blessed with a job and it pays enough to more than meet my basic needs for food and shelter.

    This “heathen” was indeed taught that yes, I am my brother’s keeper, which means once my basic needs are met, I am to help others less fortunate and help to clothe, shelter and feed them. I am not only glad, but in my belief, I am obligated to pay taxes, and since I cannot possibly help all those in need in this country, the government will use those taxes to assist those in poverty to achieve their basic needs. It may not be a perfect system but instead of ending it, I want the corruption rooted out, not to “starve” the system into non-existence.

    It is not my place to judge, why the folks are in a different place in life than I. I do not recall any teachings that said help those less fortunate, but only if I deem they are worthy of my help.

    So, this “heathen” will continue to try and follow the lead of the original “liberal” while you “christian” cons are merely the 21st century version of the money changers He chased from the temple.

    One day we will be divided into two groups, one that tried to promote the “liberal agenda” in our short time here, and one that elevated pride and personal greed to an art form and fought to actively limit the help to the poverty stricken by not only ignoring the poor’s basic needs for food and shelter, but sanctioned the deaths of 45,000 less fortunate Americans every year, all so you could keep more of your “gold coins“ in your own pocket.

    The Shepherd will decide which group contained the sheep and which group contained the goats.

    February 28, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Four and The Door

    No Republican should support this back-room behemoth bureaucracy. It was created in a rush and by buying off unions and hold-out greedy Democratic Senators and has no place in 2010 America. We will not put up with the sleazy brand of politics exemplified by the Democratic bill slapped together in the dark.

    February 28, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. annie s

    Well, duh. There's a surprise. The Republicans once again turning up their noses at a bill that will benefit the American people and reduce the deficit dramatically over the next 20 years. Huh....could it be they just want the Dems to fail??

    February 28, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. SHARON

    There are no free thinkers in the republican party. Each morning they receive their talking points and then repeat them throughout the day. It is stunning how verbatim their speeches are. I hear the same 6-10 words from every republican mouth. It's like puppet theater. Question is, who is pulling the strings??? I think we already know who and it isn't the American people.

    February 28, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. B

    Forever the party of – NO ! Just like the last eight years of – No, Nothing, Zero, except WAR, and kickbacks to the rich..

    February 28, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. terry,va.

    The Repubs have heard the American people. They don't want this bill and it is their job to stop the idiot dumbocraps. Plain and simple. The dumbocraps will lose control of congress in November and Obummie is one and done.

    February 28, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    McConnell "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."

    No news here. The Republicans stated long ago that health care reform was President Obama's "Waterloo," and their intention has always been to do everything they can do to block it.

    The GOP wants our president and our country to fail – plain and simple.

    To what end? We had 8 years of Republican economic, military and foreign policy under Bush & Company, and it brought our country to the brink of ruin.

    The Republicans are a bunch of idiots, who think Americans have no memory and are stupid, too.

    GOP = Party Before Country

    February 28, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Brian, NJ

    Repubs say they support 80% of what is in the bill. If you support 80% of a bill, and you are supposed to be bipartisan, doesn't that make this bill an obvious "Yes" vote if you are a Repuke.

    They may have known there stuff at the summit better than alot of people predicted, but they still showed up with no alternative.

    February 28, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Brenda

    party of jerks Gross Old Pissants

    February 28, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. I Stand with the President

    I just don't understand these Republicons, they see us suffering and believe you me, we are. I just wish that we could take away all these guys GREAT insurance that they are and make them have to get what we have.. and see how they like it . I have the Democrats see its just time to get it done.

    February 28, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Jim

    The GOP never cared about public opinion when Bush was in the Whitehouse. Why is it so important now?

    Besides, congress is supposed to do the right thing for everyone. If congress only voted according to pols, the civil rights act of 1964 would never have passed, and conservatives wouldn't have to share the front of the bus.

    February 28, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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