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McConnell Tries To Insist The GOP Isn’t Obstructionist: ‘It Is Simply Not True’

By Amanda Terkel  

"McConnell Tries To Insist The GOP Isn’t Obstructionist: ‘It Is Simply Not True’"

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Today on Fox News Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tried to insist that his party has not been obstructionist. To prove his point, he quoted recent remarks by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

McCONNELL: Look, in terms of whether or not we’re at a gridlock, I would like to quote the President of the United States himself, who said just a couple of months ago, “If we stop today” — this is the President — “If we stop today, this legislative session would have been one of the most productive in a generation.”

My counterpart, the Democratic leader, just last month in the first half of the 111th Congress: “We made significant progress. It is a long list of accomplishments.” [...]

MCCONNELL: [T]hey’re trying to spin the notion that we are stymieing everything they’re doing. It is simply not true based on the president’s own words.

He then insisted that all Republicans oppose are Democrats’ “partisan agenda to take over” health care and energy. However, when host Chris Wallace asked McConnell whether he personally believes that this Congress has truly been productive, McConnell dodged the question and bashed his Democratic counterparts:

WALLACE: [C]an you really say on the issues facing the country — the economy, health care, energy problems — that this Congress has been productive?

MCCONNELL: The president believes it has been.

WALLACE: I’m asking you, sir.

MCCONNELL: Well, look. I think they — on the — on some of the big issues they’ve tried to go in the wrong direction. And we’re not going to sign on to efforts to turn America into a western European country, which I think is the net result of something like the energy tax cap and trade bill and the health care bill.

Any progress Congress has made has been in spite of most Republican lawmakers, not because of them. Republicans in the Senate, led by McConnell, have “threatened to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation this session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented,” aggressively trying to block more than just major legislation on health care and energy. They have tried to hold up Obama’s well-qualified nominees for political reasons, voted against pay-as-you-go rules (despite Republican support for the measure in the past and the GOP’s supposed interest in fiscal responsibility), flip-flopped on support for a deficit commission, and whined when Reid scrapped a jobs bill that the GOP said would “not create one job.”

Of course, one of the most significant pieces of legislation was the Recovery Act. As Norm Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise has written, “Any Congress that passed all these items separately would be considered enormously productive. Instead, this Congress did it in one bill.” But this legislation passed without any Republican support in the House and with just three Republicans in the Senate.

Transcript:

McCONNELL: Look, in terms of whether or not we’re at a gridlock, I would like to quote the President of the United States himself, who said just a couple of months ago, “If we stop today” — this is the President — “If we stop today, this legislative session would have been one of the most productive in a generation.”

My counterpart, the Democratic leader, just last month in the first half of the 111th Congress: “We made significant progress. It is a long list of accomplishments.”

They are trying to –

WALLACE: But you’re not suggesting –

MCCONNELL: No, look. Look, Chris –

WALLACE: — that people should be satisfied –

MCCONNELL: — they’re trying to spin the notion that we are stymieing everything they’re doing. It is simply not true based on the president’s own words.

Let me tell you what we do oppose. We oppose the government taking over one — the health care system, one-sixth of our economy. And we oppose a national energy tax commonly referred to around here as cap and trade. We think those are terrible ideas.

But my members were not sent here to do nothing, and the president knows that, and he has said it. We have accomplished much for the American people. It’s just that we are unwilling to approve their partisan agenda to take over health care and raise energy. [...]

MCCONNELL: That’s just not true. I read the comment from the president about how productive this Congress has been. Senator Reid believes the Congress has been productive.

What we are not willing to cooperate in doing is passing this massive overhaul of health care and passing this massive energy tax.

Beyond that, there’s been a high level of cooperation, by the president’s own words and by Senator Reid’s own words, and we’ll continue to cooperate on those things that we think are in the best interests of the American people.

WALLACE: But, Senator — and I understand the point of quoting their words. I mean, can you really say — and I’m not saying you should take or sign up for the Democratic ideas, but can you really say on the issues facing the country — the economy, health care, energy problems — that this Congress has been productive?

MCCONNELL: The president believes it has been.

WALLACE: I’m asking you, sir.

MCCONNELL: Well, look. I think they — on the — on some of the big issues they’ve tried to go in the wrong direction. And we’re not going to sign on to efforts to turn America into a western European country, which I think is the net result of something like the energy tax cap and trade bill and the health care bill.

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