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McConnell Rips Cost of Democratic Agenda

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Saturday said speed kills — at least when it comes to health care reform and the federal budget. McConnell linked the Democratic push for health care legislation to the speedy action earlier this year on an economic stimulus bill, and he said the result in both cases would be exorbitant government spending and waste.

“If the stimulus bill taught us anything, it’s that we should be wary anytime someone in Washington says the sky’s going to fall unless Congress approves trillions of dollars immediately,— McConnell said in the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s weekly radio address. Obama spoke Saturday on financial sector reform.

McConnell hit hard on the costs of the pending health care legislation, pointing to this week’s Congressional Budget Office estimates putting the price tag over $1 trillion.

“And yet Democrats still want to rush the process,— McConnell said. “When it comes to health care reform, the Democratic motto is clear: rush and spend, rush and spend.—

He ridiculed Democratic claims that the health care reform package would lower costs, linking it to the argument that the stimulus package “would keep unemployment low.—

McConnell said the GOP approach to improving the health care system includes malpractice reform, “wellness— and prevention, and “addressing the needs of small business,— though he offered no details on that aspect.

The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have sought to counter GOP criticism on the cost of the stimulus by pointing to projects and job creation in specific states and Congressional districts, and making the case that the stimulus helped stabilize the unemployment rate and position the economy for a turnaround. Similarly, on health care the president and his Hill allies stress the long-term economic benefit of their approach.

But Republicans believe the White House and Democrats are vulnerable on the spending question and are seeking to link the stimulus, health care and financial sector bailouts as examples of government spending run amok.

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