U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans have to be realistic about what control over the House will mean for legislation.
Voters gave Republicans a strong majority in the House, but Democrats and independents who caucus with the Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate, and President Obama is still president.
“Which raises a practical question: what can Americans expect from Republicans now?” McConnell, R-Ky., said today in Washington at an event organized by the Heritage Foundation, Washington, according to a written version of McConnell’s remarks.
Supporters of a bill need only a majority to get it through the House. In the Senate, supporters of a bill usually need 60 votes to get a bill to the floor, and they need 67 votes to overturn a presidential veto.
“It would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen,” McConnell said. “We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”
Congress can – and should – vote repeatedly on straight repeal of the Democratic health
system change legislation, McConnell said.
“But we can’t expect the president to sign it,” McConnell said. “So we’ll also have to work, in the House, on denying funds for implementation, and, in the Senate, on votes against its most egregious provisions. At the same time, we’ll need to continue educating the public about the ill-effects of this bill on individuals young and old, families, and small businesses.”
Republicans also can call administration officials to the Hill to try to defend their efforts to change the health finance system and other initiatives, McConnell said.
“Through oversight we’ll also keep a spotlight on the various agencies the administration will now use to advance through regulation what it can’t through legislation,” McConnell said.
Republicans, will for example, keep close watch on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, McConnell said.
McConnell said Republicans will cooperate with Democrats on some issues.
“The American people reminded us this week that we work for them, and we owe it to them and future generations to work together to find solutions to present troubles and to help guide our nation to better days,” McConnell said.
Republicans could work with the Democrats on issues such as preventing a tax hike on small businesses, McConnell said.