McConnell Says GOP Will Campaign To Repeal Health Care…But Won’t Say Whether They’ll Actually Do It

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In his response to President Obama’s latest call for Congress to finish off health care reform–a process that will involve invoking a filibuster-proof maneuver called reconciliation–Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted that, if the legislation passes, “every” Republican candidate will campaign this fall to repeal it. However, he would not go so far as to say he’d actually move to repeal it if Republicans take back the Senate next fall.

“There’s an overwhelming likelihood that every Republican candidate will be campaigning to repeal it,” McConnell intoned at a press conference this afternoon. “I think virtually all Republican candidates will say [the bill] is something they would not have supported.”Pressed to say whether that means he’d pursue a course of repealing the bill if he becomes majority leader in the fall, McConnell demurred. “I’m not going to predict the outcome of the fall election.”

McConnell also warned House Democrats that Republicans will campaign against Democrats on unpopular vote-trading provisions–such as the infamous Nebraska Medicaid deal–even if Democrats repeal them.

“House Democrats only are going to be called on to vote on a bill that has the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Gator-Aide and all the rest,” McConnell said. “Now maybe they’ll try to do something simultaneously that purports to fix the problem, but the votes will be there.”

Afterward, I pointed out to McConnell’s spokesman Don Stewart that, by opposing the reconciliation bill, Republicans would be voting to sustain the Cornhusker Kickback. I asked whether that’s something Republicans would do. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

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