Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who serves as the Republican whip in the Senate, has been a chief architect of tactics aimed at delaying — and ultimately defeating — health reform.
Speaking with radio show host Hugh Hewitt last month, Kyl stated, “The President has said that if we don’t do [health reform] quickly, it won’t get done at all, and he’s right.” Kyl then added, “Our objective is to slow this down.” He also admitted recently that he revoked Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) authority to negotiate with Democrats on the Finance Committee, even though Grassley is the ranking member.
Nevertheless, this morning on Fox News, Kyl seized upon recent delays in the health reform process to assert that his party has no role in obstruction:
KYL: So I think it’s important to remind folks Democrats have a 60 to 40 majority in the Senate and a bigger margin than that in the House. So, if they all got together they could pass a bill. This isn’t being held up by Republicans.
Today, the Hill quoted an anonymous influential lobbyist who claimed a key strategy of defeating Obama’s reforms is to “create delays” and when negotiations break down, to seize the “opportunity to outright kill a proposal.” Despite Kyl’s professed innocence, Senate Republicans have been on the front lines of this delay and kill approach:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “I take pride with being an obstructionist.” [Politico, 7/6/09]
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): “I think we can stop it in the Senate. … We cannot afford to lose the health care battle.” [Fox News, 6/30/09]
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “It needs to slow down.” [Senator McConnell Press Office, 7/6/09]
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): “I think the first thing [on health reform] is, slow down guys.” [Senate Republican Caucus Video, 7/14/09]
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS): “Maybe we could put something underneath that and say: ‘Slow Down’ or maybe in the language of my State ‘Whoa.’” [Senator Floor, 7/14/09]
Sen. Mike Enzi: “We need to slow down.” [Senator Enzi Press Office, 6/8/09]
Meanwhile in the House, Republican leaders are similarly using every tactic available to delay and kill reform. The Hill also recently reported that Newt Gingrich, the Republican leader who instructed members to “do whatever they can to kill” President Clinton’s health reform proposals in the early 90s, is now assisting Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) in whipping Republican opposition to health reform.