McConnell Promises Policy Agenda in the Fall

Posted August 3, 2010 at 9:58am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview Tuesday that Republicans would unveil a policy agenda for the midterm elections in September, but he declined to reveal specific details until then.

Speaking to Bloomberg Television, the Kentucky Republican said it was important for his party to tell voters how they plan to govern if they regain control of Congress in the November elections, and he offered clues as to what the GOP agenda might look like. McConnell is not predicting a Republican takeover of the Senate but offered that the GOP would do well if the election were held today.

“We need to make sure Americans know what we would do. We will make the announcement in September. I will not scoop myself. We will make the announcement late in September,” McConnell said, according to a transcript of the interview. “The American people, I think, are saying they would like checks and balances against what this administration is doing — running banks, of companies, taking over student loans and health care. These takeovers, now these tax increases to boot — people are appalled. Mostly on their minds are restoring some sense of balance here in Washington. They know who is in charge for the past year and half.”

McConnell emphasized what has become the chief Republican sales pitch to voters — elect the GOP to restore balanced governance and “checks and balances” to Washington — while also making abundantly clear where the minority stands on health care reform.

In doing so, he acknowledged the political reality of dealing with health care while President Barack Obama remains in office, and he underscored that Republicans do support reform — just not the law that was enacted by the Democrats in March.

“Yes, I would repeal the health care reform. We had a lengthy debate. We offered better ideas, I think. It is clear all that it will do is explode costs and put government in charge of a huge sector. We ought to start over. Realistically, with President Obama in office that is not likely,” McConnell said. “But voters would still like to know what we would do if we could. I would repeal and replace it with common-sense changes. For example, allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines, doing something about medical malpractice and a variety of other methods with that would target the cost problem without having the government take over health care.”

To flip control of the Senate, Republicans need to hold all of their open seats and win 10 seats held by the Democrats. The GOP is targeting 11 Democratic-held seats.