McConnell Rules Out Future Government Shutdowns Over Obamacare

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday ruled out shutting down the government in exchange for policy change in the near future, acknowledging Republicans erred when they employed the tactic in their fight against Obamacare.

“One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” McConnell told the Hill in an interview published Thursday. “The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid 1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days.

“There is no education in the second kick of a mule,” he added. “There will not be a government shutdown.”

A day after signing a bill reopening government and averting default, President Barack Obama had a message for Republicans who threatened default in order to gut the Affordable Care Act: win an election if you want reform.

“You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position,” Obama said at the White House. “Go out there and win an election. Push to change it.”

McConnell seemed to echo this argument, telling the Hill that the GOP’s only chance to repeal Obamacare would come in 2016.

“They may, depending upon the amount of heat they get from their constituents because of rising premiums, because of job loss, because of the chaos of the exchanges, they may be open to changes,” he said. “But full-scale repeal is obviously something that’s not going to be achievable until I’m the majority leader of the Senate and we have a new president.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also predicted Thursday that Republicans would opt against shutting down the government now that they’ve seen the GOP brand plummet at the polls.

“We’re not going to go through the shutdown again,” McCain said on CNN’s New Day. “People have been too traumatized by it. There’s too much damage.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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