UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--H.R. 6331 -- (Senate - June 26, 2008)
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Mr. McCONNELL. I believe I have the floor.
The path the majority leader just recommended we go down leads to a Presidential veto and an expiration of this law at the end of the week and a certain doc fix rejection. In other words, the doctors cut is going to go into effect at the end of this month because of this recalcitrant view, this excessively partisan approach that refuses to accept any input from this side of the aisle.
We have all known the way forward. In fact, Senator Grassley and Senator Baucus working together started the way forward months ago by working together to get a bipartisan agreement, which is the way we have typically done these periodic Medicare bills. But, no, my good friend the majority leader jerks him back in and says: We want to do this on a strictly partisan basis. We don't care whether the President will veto the bill.
Here we are a few days before the doctors receive this unconscionable cut, and the majority is saying it is more important to play politics with this issue, to brag about the fact there are 59 Democrats who voted to go forward, to talk, of all things, during the Medicare debate about who won special elections for the House of Representatives in Illinois, Mississippi, or Louisiana. What in the world does that have to do with the subject matter?
The subject matter before us is not playing political games not bragging about the fact that every Democrat voted to go forward. We ought to be talking about the reality of this situation. And the reality is that the refusal of the majority to approach this issue on a bipartisan basis, as has been typically done in the past, will lead to a Presidential veto, a reduction in the reimbursement rates for doctors, an expiration at the end of the week. There is a way forward to get back together like we have typically done on this, and that is to approve a 30-day extension.
My good friend the majority leader has just objected to an opportunity to prevent the physicians' reduction we all agree should not occur. He is objecting to it. So even the most casual observer could not miss the point.
You have an opportunity to prevent the physicians' pay reimbursement reduction or let the law expire at the end of the week. That is the choice. It is perfectly clear.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. McCONNELL. We probably don't need to prolong it much further, but in spite of the political observations of my good friend, the fact is, the President, as a matter of principle, will not sign this bill. At the end of the week, the doctors' reduction in reimbursement will go into effect. There is a way to prevent that, and that is to do a short-term extension to give us an opportunity to do what we have done in the past on these measures, and that is negotiate a settlement. That has been prevented by my good friend.
I think we have discussed this issue long enough. We have others waiting to debate the supplemental.