McConnell Rips Obama on Health Care, Economy
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday issued a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration’s policies, calling the stimulus a mistake, his health care plans way off course and the “cash for clunkers— program a government giveaway.McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, also charged that Democrats were “missing the point— by lobbing charges at angry protesters at Member town halls across the country. McConnell said he doesn’t believe either side should be disruptive, but that it underscores the frustration of an American public with Obama’s health care plans.“Frankly, the truth of the matter is, we don’t know who’s organized and who isn’t. The point is, the issue, the substance. They need to deal with it. Americans are concerned about it,— McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.— “I suspect a lot of these people are elderly people who are concerned about half-a-trillion dollar cut in Medicare to pay, not to make Medicare sustainable, but to start a new program for other citizens.—McConnell also took after Obama on the economy, declining to give the president any credit for the slowing of job losses last month, nor would he concede that the $787 billion stimulus has stopped the economy from spiraling further downward. “I don’t think the administration has had a whole lot to do with this, but, look, if economy is turning around we’re all happy about that,— McConnell said.Asked whether the country would have been better off without the stimulus, McConnell said: “Yes, I do. Only 16 percent of the stimulus has been spent. There’s nobody who credibly believes you can estimate a job that was saved, What caused a job to be saved? There’s no way to estimate that. What we do know for sure is we’re running up these massive debts.—McConnell also stuck to the economic argument on health care reform, saying the president’s plans would cost too much and are misguided. He said that while he’d like to make a deal by the end of the year — and be there when Obama signs a bill — he’s not happy with the direction of the current talks.McConnell has dismissed the idea of a public insurance option and said Sunday he also opposes a health care cooperative — currently an option being discussed by a bipartisan group of six Senate Finance Committee negotiators. But McConnell rejected charges that Republicans don’t intend to sign off on any health care proposal. “I’d like to make a deal, but I’d like to make the right kind of deal,— McConnell said. “This isn’t about embarrassing anyone politically, it’s about getting it right.—McConnell has been meeting regularly with two of the GOP Finance negotiators — Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — to keep abreast of the talks. That group is hoping to have a deal in hand by Sept. 15.On the popular cash-for-clunkers program, McConnell said that while he doesn’t support the plan, Senate Republicans didn’t have enough votes to stop it from advancing the chamber last week. Senators agreed to infuse another $2 billion into the program that provides subsidies to consumers who trade in older vehicles for fuel-efficient ones.“I don’t think it was a good idea,— McConnell said. “Clearly if you provide a generous bonus to people to buy these items, they probably will.—McConnell was equally tough on Obama’s plans to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He said he believed that on a bipartisan basis Senators would look to block the effort.