For the next two years, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to make Barack Obama a one-term president, he and his counterparts in the House will force repeated votes on repealing and starving the White House’s signature accomplishments.
At a Heritage Foundation speech later this morning, McConnell will reiterate his desire to see Obama unseated in 2012, and will pull back the veil on the next two years, which are poised to be mired in political theatrics and policy gridlock.
“Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office,” McConnell will say. “But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things.”
“On health care that means we can - and should - propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly,” McConnell will add. “But 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.”
At a post-election press conference yesterday, a morose Obama said he’s open to the idea of “tinkering” with some of his health care law’s more cumbersome provisions. But he’s also said that full repeal is off the table.
The potential for gridlock runs well beyond health care, too. Yesterday, Obama also announced that he’d meet with Republican leaders in the coming weeks to reach a compromise on the Bush tax catus. Before Congress adjourned for campaign season, though, McConnell introduced legislation that would make the Bush tax cuts permanent for all income brackets. That doesn’t leave a great deal of room for compromise.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.