- Title: U.S. Senate's McConnell sees tough path for passing healthcare bill
- Date: 24th May 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (MAY 24, 2017) (REUTERS) WIDE SHOT U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL BEING INTERVIEWED BY REUTERS REPORTER ANDY SULLIVAN (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "Well with regard to President Obama, we had a good relationship; it's just that we didn't agree on very many things. I speak with President Trump quite a lot. He's very accessible; he enjoys talking to people. He calls me; I call him. We have a lot of conversations." WIDE SHOT SULLIVAN ASKING QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "Well obviously I said to him I thought we could use a little less drama, and you can see how effective I've been." WIDE SHOT SULLIVAN ASKING QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "No, look, I think the healthcare bill in the Senate's going to be written by senators, you know, and we're involved in extensive discussions three days a week with every single member, all 52 of us trying to come up with an approach on healthcare that can get a minimum of 50 votes in order to pass the Senate." WIDE SHOT MCCONNELL SPEAKING TO SULLIVAN (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "Unfortunately, no. You know, when I first came to the Senate there was a lot of Democratic interest in comprehensive tax reform. In fact, the Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, a Democrat, the Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, Bill Bradley in the Senate were all on board with Reagan and the Republicans to do comprehensive tax reform. Unfortunately, this is not your grandfather's Democratic Party, and they don't seem to have any interest in that either. But fortunately there is a way to do that with a simple majority, and that's another one of our top priorities." WIDE SHOT SULLIVAN ASKING QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "Well I think the markets ought not to be too impatient. Comprehensive tax reform back in the 80s took a couple of years. We certainly intend to address comprehensive tax reform this Congress. As soon as we get to a majority, we'll be voting." WIDE SHOT SULLIVAN ASKING QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "Well I don't know what his [U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's] expectations are, but I think we need to understand this is not easily done either. Not, in my view, quite as challenging as healthcare, but very challenging. And, but, it's important need for the country. We need to get the growth rate up. We didn't have a single year of three percent growth during the Obama years. The country cannot realize its aspirations for the next generation with such a tepid growth rate. The way to get the country growing better is comprehensive tax reform and regulatory relief. We're doing both." WIDE SHOT MCCONNELL LISTENING TO QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER, MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "Well, every president's budget is a recommendation, but in fact the spending priorities are made by the Congress. Honestly, we didn't pay a whole lot of attention to President Obama's budget, even when the Democrats were in the majority in the House and Senate. It's a recommendation by the president, but the actual decisions are made by Congress. And we'll work our way through that, and in the end, my state is not going to be adversely affected." WIDE SHOT SULLIVAN AND MCCONNELL SPEAKING TO EACH OTHER
- Embargoed: 7th June 2017 18:36
- Keywords: McConnell's relationship with President Trump Andy Sullivan interview Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016I78E2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday (May 24) said he has yet to hit upon a formula for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a new healthcare program, but he expressed some optimism on another top priority, overhauling the tax code.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, McConnell said healthcare and taxes still top the Republican legislative agenda, and he added he will not be reaching out to the minority Democrats on either one because differences between the two parties are too stark.
That approach will leave McConnell, a conservative 75-year-old Kentuckian with a reputation as a dealmaker, a narrow path to win passage of these ambitious goals, which are also at the head of Republican President Donald Trump's policy agenda.
Under a scenario of gathering the votes needed for passage in the 100-seat chamber, Republican Vice President Mike Pence would be called upon to cast any potential tie-breaking Senate vote.
McConnell declined to provide any timetable for producing even a draft bill to show to rank-and-file Republican senators and gauge their support.
On the other hand, he said, prospects for passage of major tax legislation were "pretty good." While this too will be difficult, McConnell said, it is "not in my view quite as challenging as healthcare."
Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress want to cut tax rates across the board, but a House of Representatives proposal to use the tax code to boost exports and discourage imports has split the business community and some lawmakers.
The Republican-led House on May 4 narrowly approved its own legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system and dismantle major parts of the Obamacare law that was Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.
The House passed it over unified Democratic opposition.
Healthcare legislation must be passed by the Senate, and then the two chambers must work out the differences between their versions before it can go to Trump for his signature.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None