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Public Statements

Heath Care and The Omnibus

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, Republicans are fully engaged in the health care debate. It is our view that there is no more important work we can do here than to show Americans what the Democratic plan for health care would mean to them. Once we return to the debate, Republicans will be ready with two important amendments.

One of those amendments, by Senator Crapo, would enable the President to keep one of the pledges he made as a candidate and as President about what the Democratic plan for health care reform would look like. He said that no family making less than $250,000 a year and no individual making less than $200,000 a year would see a tax increase of any kind. The Crapo motion would ensure that promise is kept.

An amendment by Senators HUTCHISON and THUNE would ensure that none of the taxes imposed by this bill would go into effect a day earlier than the benefits. In other words, you don't get taxes before you get benefits. This is a commonsense amendment. You certainly wouldn't ask someone to pay for the mortgage on a house 4 years before they were allowed to move in. In the same way, we should not tax people for a benefit they don't get for 4 long years.

The Hutchison-Thune amendment also aims to keep government honest, because most Americans have a hard time believing Washington would collect taxes on one thing for 4 years and actually have the discipline not to use the money on something else. This amendment would guard against that.

For the moment, the majority has decided to take us off health care. It has moved to an Omnibus appropriations bill that has all the hallmarks of all the other bloated spending bills we have seen this year. It is really outrageous, actually. At a time of double-digit unemployment, at a time when Democrats are talking about increasing by nearly $2 trillion the amount of money the government is legally allowed to borrow, the majority has moved us off of one $2.5 trillion spending bill and on to a 1,000-page omnibus that would cost the American taxpayer another $ 1/2 trillion right in the middle of a recession.

Once again, the majority has shown a lack of restraint when it comes to spending. At a moment of record debt, at a moment when inflation is nearly flat, this bill represents a 12-percent annual increase in government spending. Let me say that again. Inflation is flat. Yet we are increasing discretionary spending by 12 percent in this omnibus spending bill. The American people are not increasing their spending 12 percent. Moreover, it includes a number of controversial, unrelated provisions, including, among other things, language to weaken restrictions on abortion funding.

This $ 1/2 trillion spending bill spends $50 billion more than last year. All this spending comes right on the heels of a new report from Treasury that says the government ran a deficit of nearly $300 billion in October and November--the worst deficit we have ever had at this point in a fiscal year, ever. At a time when families across the country are struggling to make ends meet, lawmakers almost seem to be flouting their ability to spend taxpayer money. This bill contains many worthy projects. Unfortunately, the majority has piled on so much spending, so much debt and new controversial policies that I certainly can't support it.

As you may know, the Senate is considering a bill that would make basic changes in the country's health care system. We have been debating it for weeks. What I keep hearing on the other side is no reference to what the American people think. I hear these arguments about making history. Ignoring the public is not a great way to make history. We have not seen poll data for months that indicate the American people support the Reid bill. The most devastating one came out last night. A CNN opinion research poll taken December 2 and 3, this week--not exactly a bastion of conservatism--indicates that 61 percent of the American people oppose this health care bill and only 36 percent favor it.

We are looking for one courageous Member of the other side of the aisle--just one--to stand up and say he or she will not ignore the overwhelming opinion of the American people, he or she will not be so arrogant as to assume we have the right answer here and 61 percent of the American people somehow don't know what they are talking about.

The American people are pretty smart. They have been watching this carefully. This health care bill, like no other issue, affects every single American regardless of age. Everybody is interested in the subject. They have watched the debate closely. They are telling us: Please, Congress, please do not pass this bill.

I yield the floor.


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