Senate Should Follow House and Pass a Permanent Delay of Obamacare

Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the President’s latest pivot to the economy, and the need for the Senate to pass a permanent delay of Obamcare:

“Like the President, I appreciate a good literary reference every now and then. Placed in the proper context, a citation from some great writer or thinker can sum up a vision and inspire folks.

“When Douglas MacArthur bade farewell to West Point, he echoed an ancient thinker’s ominous warning that ‘only the dead have seen the end of war.’ And the biblical references in JFK’s famous inaugural represent another classic use of the well-placed quote. But I think a lot of people are still scratching their heads about President Obama’s promise yesterday to bring Americans an ‘ocean of tomorrows.’ Frankly, I don’t even think the Carl Sandburg fans out there would get it.

“And I really wonder: does he? Because the President himself said his speech probably wouldn’t change any minds.

“Even the advisors who endlessly hyped this thing more or less conceded there wouldn’t be any ‘there’ there – no groundbreaking proposals, no tack to the center, no promise to finally start working collaboratively with Congress. Well, they were right. So, really, what was the point?

“Look: this President’s a good campaigner. We all recognize that. He’s got a way with words too. But, at some point, campaign season has to end – and the working-with-others season has to begin. At some point, you have to stop promising an ‘ocean of tomorrows’ and start actually working with the representatives of the people.

“Because let’s be clear: Americans aren’t worried about how many tomorrows there are to come, they’re worried about what those tomorrows will bring. The bills in tomorrow’s mail. The cuts in tomorrow’s paycheck. The affordability of tomorrow’s health costs. These are things that can’t be addressed with reheated speeches or clever quotes. They require actually working with people – including those you might not always agree with.

“For instance, going around telling people Obamacare’s ‘working the way it’s supposed to,’ or that it’s ‘fabulous’ or ‘wonderful,’ as several of our Democrat friends have done – well, that doesn’t change reality. It’s just words.

“It doesn’t change the fact that recent surveys show only 13 percent of Americans now believe the law will help them. Or that about half believe it will make things worse for the middle class. Or that actuaries are now predicting cost increases of 30 percent or more in my home state of Kentucky.

“Now, I know the President likes to point to the few places, as he did yesterday, where premiums might drop under Obamacare. But he’s basically silent on the places where it’s been announced that premiums will go up under Obamacare. And he won’t say a word about all the people who have lost their jobs or have seen their pay cut.

“For instance, The Washington Post recently profiled a part-time college professor from Virginia who, like too many in his situation, will see his hours slashed as a result of this law. As the Post put it: ‘For [this man], the president’s health-care law could have meant better health insurance. Instead, it produced a pay cut.’ And, many would agree, not for the better. Especially for the growing number of Americans forced into part-time work with fewer hours and smaller paychecks as a result. As one part-time waitress interviewed in another paper said: ‘I can’t believe I voted for this. This is not the change I wanted, and it feels like there’s no hope.’

“So, if the President is ready to ‘pivot’ from campaign mode to governing mode, he can start by dropping the misleading claims and admitting what pretty much everyone knows: that a lot of Americans are going to feel pain once this ocean-full of tomorrows finally crashes ashore. Americans are worried. I don’t blame them.

“Just last week, as I often do, I met with employers from around Kentucky who expressed continued concerns about the impact this law will have on their operations. They want the Democrats who run the Senate to follow the House’s lead in delaying Obamacare for everyone – both businesses and individuals. They know it just makes sense to do so. And I know they want the President to sign the bill when it passes.

“I agree – he should. It would be a great first step toward implementing the permanent delay our country needs – a delay that would give Republicans and Democrats the chance to start over and work together this time on bipartisan, step-by-step health reforms that could actually lower costs.

“But we can’t get there until the President changes his mindset. Until he puts the poetry down for moment, flips the campaign switch off and the governing switch on. And when he does, I think he’ll be surprised to find just how many Republicans want to do exactly what we’ve said all along – to work with him on solutions to get our economy moving, our jobs growing, and our health care more affordable.

“We’re waiting. Americans are waiting. I hope he’ll finally be ready soon.”

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