This morning, during an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned House Democrats that they will be held accountable for voting for the “special deals” in the Senate bill even if they eliminate those provisions in reconciliation. “Every election this fall will be a referendum on this bill,” McConnell said:
As everyone understands, if the House passes the Senate bill, it goes straight to the President for signature. So all of this discussion about the second bill, the reconciliation bill is really kind of irrelevant. If the House passes the Senate bill that goes to the President for a signature, that means that every single member of the House who would have voted for this, would have voted for the kickback, the purchase, the Gatorade, all of that, the Medicare cuts.
McConnell’s comments are part of an orchestrated Republican effort to “scare House Democrats against voting for the health care plan, arguing that there’s no guarantee that the Senate approves a reconciliation package.” On CNBC, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) mused that “once they pass the great big bill, I wouldn’t be surprised if the White House didn’t care if reconciliation passed. I mean, why would they?” In an interview on Fred Thompson’s radio show, Gregg also suggested that reconciliation was “almost irrelevant.”
Republicans have said that they will try to delay the reconciliation process by overwhelming the senate with amendments and invoking “the Byrd rule to ask the parliamentarian to strip individual provisions.” Still, Republicans are uncertain that this strategy will succeed. “There will be a lot of Democrats who will vote against it. Whether there will be 11 Democrats who will vote against it is not clear,” McConnell admitted last week.