President Barack Obama’s $950 billion health care reform package was summarily rejected by Congressional Republicans on Monday, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined his House counterpart in panning the bill.
In a prepared statements, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — and now McConnell — have made it clear that the GOP will not budge from its opposition to the kind of expensive, comprehensive health care reform legislation favored by Obama, not to mention several of the provisions included in the bill.
This latest partisan disagreement over health care comes just three days before the president’s bipartisan health care reform summit. Obama has billed the nationally televised event on Thursday as an attempt to bring Democrats and Republicans together on health care, which has been stalled in the Senate for more than a month.
Obama on Monday released a reform package of his own based on two Democratic bills that passed the House and Senate, respectively, late last year. Those bills garnered just one GOP vote in the House; none in the Senate.
McConnell’s full statement reads as follows:
“It’s disappointing that Democrats in Washington either aren’t listening, or are completely ignoring what Americans across the country have been saying. Our constituents don’t want yet another partisan, back-room bill that slashes Medicare for our seniors, raises a half-trillion dollars in new taxes, fines them if they don’t buy the right insurance and further expands the role of government in their personal decisions.
“Republicans will continue to offer the kind of step-by-step reforms to lower costs that our constituents have been asking for in the hundreds of town halls and constituent meetings we have had across the country. But the longer Washington sticks with its failed approach to health care, the longer Americans have to wait for the real, step-by-step reforms that will actually lower costs and lead to a better system. That’s what Americans have wanted all along.”
McConnell’s statement follows a similar rebuke from Boehner, who accused Obama of releasing a partisan health care proposal. Boehner suggested the president’s bipartisan summit later this week on the issue would amount to a Democratic “infomercial.”
Still, Boehner stopped short of saying Republicans would boycott the Thursday forum.
“The President has crippled the credibility of this week’s summit by proposing the same massive government takeover of health care based on a partisan bill the American people have already rejected,” Boehner said in a statement. “This week’s summit clearly has all the makings of a[n] infomercial for continuing on a partisan course that relies on more backroom deals and parliamentary tricks to circumvent the will of the American people and jam through a massive government takeover of health care.”
Jackie Kucinich contributed to this report.