Health Care

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: March 22, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, last night marked a turning point in our politics and in our Nation.

On a Sunday night in March, with the Nation howling in opposition, a bare majority of Democrats in the people's House ignored the people to claim a win for their party, and then they celebrated. The American people watched all this in utter disbelief.

Here is what the Democrats voted for last night: a vast expansion of the entitlement state that we cannot afford, massive cuts to Medicare, higher taxes, higher health care costs, worse care, taxpayer-funded abortions. Do not believe the spin that this was not a party-line vote. Yes, not a single Republican voted for the bill, but a whole lot of Democrats voted against it as well.

The fact is, the so-called Senate version of the health care bill that passed the House last night could not even pass the Senate today. Why is that? Because this bill is so deeply unpopular that the voters in the most liberal State in the country just elected a Republican to the Senate for the first time in nearly four decades in order to stop it.

Democrats want to pretend this did not happen. They want to pretend New Jersey and Virginia and Massachusetts simply did not happen. They want to pretend the views of the people who sent us here do not matter. They want to pretend we can afford a $2.5 trillion entitlement in the middle of a recession, when we cannot even meet the obligations we already have. They want to pretend future generations will not have to bear the burden of their actions. They want to pretend our actions today will not affect the American dream tomorrow.

They are living in a fantasy, and today that fantasy becomes even more absurd. As if the bill they voted on yesterday was not bad enough, now they want to make it even worse. That is what is going to happen in the Senate. That is what is going to happen in the Senate this week.

Democratic leaders now want us to take the bill that passed the Senate back in December and that the House voted on last night and make the tax hikes even higher and the Medicare cuts even deeper. They want us to endorse a raft of new sweetheart deals that were struck behind closed doors just last week so this thing could limp over the finish line last night.

Americans said they did not want this bill. Democrats passed it anyway. They said they did not like the deals and they did not like the giveaways. Democrats struck them anyway.

Now they want to make this bill even worse. They want to add more deals on top of the other ones. Well, I have a message for our Democratic friends: Enough is enough. No more tax hikes, no more Medicare cuts, no more dealmaking, no more backroom deals.

Democrats may have won their vote last night, but they lost the argument and they have lost the trust of the American people. Americans know you don't drive down the cost of health care by spending another $2.5 trillion on health care. They know we can help people with preexisting conditions without slashing Medicare to do it. They know we can do all these things without crippling the economy or forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions. Americans see through the false choices they have been handed by the Democrats here in Washington.

Democratic leaders may have gotten their votes, they may have gotten their win, but today is a new day. Already we are seeing Democrats in the Senate distancing themselves from this effort to make a bad bill worse. So we already know that reconciliation is guaranteed to have bipartisan opposition. Democrats were hoping they could silence the voices of the American people last night, but starting today those voices are going to be heard. Senate Republicans are going to make sure those voices are heard.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.