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. Mike in Texas

    Keith in Austin,

    Would you give your credit card to a con man? You did if you voted for the current Republican's in office.

    MConnell, Cantor, Boehner and the others have no fiscal credibility. They didn't care about fiscal restraint when they had the power. Their arrogance and greed blinded them but now they have only seen the errs of their ways once they lost the power. Now, they are reborn....yeah right.

    If someone swindles you and says their sorry would you believe anything they say now?

    February 28, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Can't Wait Til November

    The GOP senators won't support the Democrat (secretly) crafted healthcare transformation because... the Dems yielded no way to Republican issues during the splashy one day of bipartisanship they offered up to the CSPAN cameras last week. So big suprise that alone was not enough to garner a plethora of Republican votes? Hardly.

    February 28, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Saul - Virginia Independent

    i personally blame Americans for all this nosense and political posturing in Washington. Only in America will you have elected officials say no to any every legislation and offer no better alternatives for two years but yet be treated as heroes and rewarded during election time.
    I think both parties are equally responsible for the gridlock in washington, and voting out democrats for republicans is insane.
    I was a little optimistic when the Tea party started because i thought it was the beginning of a thirdindependent party. But come to realised that it was just a part of the republican party in sheep clothing. If you think it is bad now, wait till we more ideological right wing majorities in the house and senate, it will be a huge disaster!

    February 28, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Diane Portland Oregon

    The American people see through the republicans, really really fast talking points. I notice lately they are telling the American people, you support us not Democrats. If you notice almost all of the responses to McConnell, they are against what he has to say. The few responses that are for him say things like dumocrats and obummie. You can tell they are the really intelligent people of this country. We see what you are doing and we are not going to vote for you in November, so give up!!!

    February 28, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Meagan

    Republican McConnell's campaign was heavily funded by insurance companies....now do you get it America?!!?

    February 28, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. JAYNE

    Republican McConnell is the master of deception. We are the born again fools.

    February 28, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. Nater

    Like this announcement was a big surprise.....since when has athe GOP ever come up with any accomplishments of their own towards healthcare? The party of nothings and "NO".

    February 28, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. the past and present is proof

    Kentucky is among the poorest states in the nation. We rank low in education and in jobs, but yet Mitch McConnell has been our senator for decades! HE HAS DONE NOTHING FOR US- never has and never will.

    It's time to VOTE HIM OUT!!!!!!

    February 28, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. I Can See Argentina from my Front Porch

    What is it going to take for these politicians to realize that WE the PEOPLE are tired of all this partisan bickering??
    While these politicians argue back and forth, they are making their salaries and getting their benefits, while the rest of us suffer and keep having to pay for all of this.

    February 28, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Even if the Senate can muster 51 votes for a health care reconciliation, the Republicans will shut Congress down until they control at least one house in November. They just don't like the guy, his ideas or his attitude.

    February 28, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. D.D.

    AS WE ALL EXPECTED FROM THE PARTY OF NO. They didn't change health care when they lead for 8 years so certainly they would not under a Democratic President. The GOP Selfish Party of No!!!

    February 28, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. FM

    What wastage of people's precious time McConnell, sitting down for solid 7 hours in a summit and not showing at least a little bit that you care!

    February 28, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Kate

    Then Senator Mconnell...give up yours!

    February 28, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. rashinal

    mcconnell is simply carrying out the plan he announced in 2006 when the democrats won back seats in congress.. he talked about it shamelessly (I think on meet the press) ..
    not let the democrats pass anything. block every single thing they try to do and then, come election time, blame them for not accomplishing anything.
    It's a child's game.
    What's so sad and frustrating, is that it works. There are too many numb minded people who can't see the hypocrisy, who believe the flood of disinformation (aka : lies) and who can't seem to assimilate actual facts.
    The party is no longer about republican values / policies (or any, really).. it's been hijacked by these narrow minded egomaniacs that have no compunction about using any platform, any device, any lie, any issue to wield power and control wealth. And it's riddled with slimy cowards who will go along, in lock step, because they fear the repercussions to their careers.
    Rather than help pull us out of this mess, the GOP sticks to it's core mission :
    Win at any cost. (party first)
    Take whatever position opposes the "enemy", regardless of its merits.
    Accuse the "enemy" of what you are doing or have done.
    Blame the "enemy" for all the your failures.
    Use fear, confusion, false logic, hate, ignorance and suspicion to create ire and discontent.

    February 28, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    We demand to know the names of every Republican who took lobbyist money after insurance companies raised rates on the American people. After their NO vote, we needs their names.

    February 28, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. lawrence

    Please break down the health care polls numbers by income and race. If 90% of all Americans , make under 100.000 dollars, I know, more Americans need help, than do not. If we can pay for two wars and help other Nations when in need, I know we can help every American with health care. Follow the money trail from the health care companys to the GOP, they are getting paid to say no. The press need's to give those making under 50.000 dollars, more air time, it will allow the Truth to come to Light , on those who wants health care, with out hurting America. Hell, just stop the Wars, keep our money here.

    February 28, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Hannah

    Let's see, the republicans tried to push for the Iraq by repeatedly saying Iraq had WMD's. That turned out to be a lie as well. They keep saying over and over again, the people don't want it. But the people do want it and they want the public option to be included. The republicans always work against the people and in this case for the insurance companies. As long as we know that, we know not to believe them.

    February 28, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Mike in MN

    To be fair, I will have to see the details of the plan Obama will release on Wed. But based on everything I heard at the summit and what has been said since, I expect the details that will be released on Wed. will be not better than the current House and Senate bills, and I will wind up in full agreement with McConnell. No Repubican votes, let the Democrats 100% own this bill that is also opposed by a majority of voters. There is no way Republicans can vote for this big government trillion dollar monster that amounts to a government takeover of health care and then trun around and campaign in the November elections as the party for small limited government.

    February 28, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Annie, Atlanta

    It's not a massive government takeover of healthcare, and McConnell knows that. It's more like a massive windfall for health insurance companies. It's obscene that our elected representatives are allowed to lie over and over again on tv, radio, and in print, and not be called out. Reporters and journalists just aren't doing their jobs anymore. News has turned into infotainment. Create a dust up or controvery to draw ratings. Why are these liars, our representatives, rarely asked how they like that "government run" health care and salary they benefit from, paid for by us? And if these creeps hate the government so much, why do they run in the first place. Hypocrisy doesn't begin to cover it.

    February 28, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. David Spitzmesser

    My best description of the Republicans is as follows. Since the last election, they have benn behaving like a two-year old. Sitting in a corner, throwing a temper tantrum because it didn't get it's way.

    February 28, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Phil T. Listener

    Jammed down their throats
    Government takeover of healthcare
    Start from scratch
    Incremental steps
    Common sense approach

    Thank you Frank Luntz for giving the republicans some empty catch phrases to say. We know they can't come up with anything on their own.

    February 28, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. proud dem in nc

    To those that are in need of health care, the Repubs say "too bad". Not one will vote to help you. Then they call themselves Christians!! I call them hypocrites.

    February 28, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. RTB

    What do nothing gas bags McConnell and his corp. cronies are.
    Will the sour grapes ever end?

    The Dems were elected because the public wants to go in that direction.

    The Republicans had their chance and true to form drove the country to the toilet.

    February 28, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. sue

    Republicans , answer this question. Where was the outrage in the Bush Years, when the Rep. were spending like drunken sailors for wars that weren't in the budget, a senior drug program not paid for ,
    all by the way passed reconciliation. Remember that Clinton left Bush with a surplus. And Bush left Obama with a one trillion debt when he left. A lease we Have a president that at least put all in the budget, And where were you on Health care in the Bush Years, Rep. could care less they were only caring about wealthy tax cuts.

    February 28, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. maf

    In every generation there are "haves" and "have nots". This generation is no different. Republicans live by the credo that you have to be responsible for yourself and your family. That's OK, but it shouldn't end there. I wonder how many Republicans are NOT looking after their aging parents, or their troubled kids?? The Democrats are trying to make sure that the have nots, through no fault of their own, get the same treatment as the haves. Rest assured Republicans, if you don't take care of the have nots, societal ills will become even more dire, and America will be looked at as one of the worst countries to be born into because the divide between rich and poor will be too difficult to manage.

    February 28, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
1 2 3 4 5