Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Working with Others

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, 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 people.

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 address 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 that Carl Sandburg fans out there would get it. I wonder: Does he? Because the President himself said his speech probably wouldn't change any minds.

Even the advisers 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 you have to ask, what was the point?

Look, this President is a terrific campaigner. We all recognize that. He has 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 perfectly clear, Americans aren't worried about how many tomorrows there are to come. They are worried about what those tomorrows will actually bring: the bills in tomorrow's mail, the cuts in tomorrow's paycheck, the affordability of tomorrow's health costs. These are the 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 is working the way it is supposed to or that it is fabulous or wonderful, as several of our Democratic friends have done, doesn't change reality. It is 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.

I know the President likes to point to the few places, as he did yesterday, where premiums might actually drop under ObamaCare, but he is basically silent on the places where it has been announced that premiums will go up under ObamaCare, and he will not say a word about all the people who have lost their jobs or seen their pay cut.

For instance, the Washington Post recently profiled a part-time college professor from Virginia who, like 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.

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 everybody knows: that a lot of Americans are going to feel the pain once this ocean-full of tomorrows finally crashes ashore. Americans are worried, and 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 lead of the House in delaying ObamaCare for everyone, both businesses and individuals, and they know it makes sense to do so. I know they want the President to sign the bill when it passes, and 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 a bipartisan step-by-step set of health reforms that would actually lower costs.

But we cannot get there until the President changes his mindset, until he puts the poetry down for a moment, flips the campaign switch off and the governing switch on. When he does, I think he will be surprised to find just how many Republicans want to do exactly what we have said all along--to work with him on solutions to get our economy moving, our jobs growing, and our health care more affordable. We are waiting. Americans are waiting. I hope he will finally be ready soon.

I yield the floor.

Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top