WASHINGTON — A defiant Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday gave a tough speech Thursday saying that if President Barack Obama won't go along with key GOP goals, "the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won't veto any ot these things.
"We can hope the president will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday's election," the Kentucky Republican told the conservative Heritage Foundation. "But we can't plan on it."
McConnell will lead a bigger Senate Republican caucus when tthe 112th Congress convenes in January, but will not command a majority. Latest estimates showed the GOP with a net gain of six seats, meaning they would have at least 47 in the next Congress.
Still, McConnell, who was able to hold virtually all his party's senators together on major legislation over the past 21 months, suggested he could do the same again next year.
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McConnell's attitude was in contrast to the mood of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, Wednesday, who called for more bipartisanship.
McConnell said he'd be happy to work with Democrats — but, he warned, the key message Tuesday from voters is that Democrats are out of touch.
"Voters didn't suddenly fall in love with Republicans," he said. "They fell out of love with Democrats."
Democrats, McConnell argued, “set about dismantling the free market, handing out political favors at taxpayer expense, expanding government, and creating a more precarious future for our children.
“In other words, Democrat leaders used the crisis of the moment to advance an agenda Americans didn’t ask for and couldn’t afford. And then they ignored and dismissed anyone who dared to speak out against it.”
A top priority of Republicans, he said, would be trying to repeal one of the Democrats' signature 2010 achivements, health care overhaul.
"We can — and should — propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly," McConnel said. But he warned, "We can’t expect the president to sign it,. 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.”
The White House, he is to say, "has a choice: they can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected When the administration agrees with the American people, we will agree with the administration.
"When it disagrees with the American people, we won’t. This has been our posture from the beginning of this administration. And we intend to stick with it. If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.”
Expect more Republican unity, McConnell said. "The single most important thing Republicans in Congress did to prepare the ground for Tuesday’s election. By sticking together in principled opposition to policies we viewed as harmful, we made it perfectly clear to the American people where we stood. And we gave voters a real choice on Election Day.”
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