McConnell said the GOP could look to repeal the health care law or strike elements of it, like its tax on medical devices, the mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance or pay a penalty, or the definition of full-time work as 30 hours a week. “We’ll be voting on things I know he’s not going to like,” McConnell said. “And I hope we can put them on his desk.”
However, McConnell was, for the most part, a voice of compromise. In addition to satisfying its most far-right members, he said, the GOP needs to fashion an image of itself as a party able to field a viable presidential candidate in 2016. To do that will require compromise, he said, because Republicans still do not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
“We need to look for areas where we can make some progress and to do that we’re going to need some Democratic senators, because we have 54 not 60, and we’re going to need a president of the United States… What I hope Senate Republicans will present to the country is a conservative, right-of-center governing majority. Serious people elected in serious times to try to get results.”
Other Senate Republicans generally echoed McConnell’s call to focus on governing in the coming Congress. Sen. Roger Wicker, the Mississippian who will chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 114th Congress, also stressed the need for Democratic votes to accomplish anything in the Senate, and predicted that voters would see a Senate that is “into accomplishments and governing.”
Appearing on Fox News, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who is expected to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was asked by host Chris Wallace if Republicans will be able to “do business” with Obama on issues such as tax reform and trade agreements, while simultaneously opposing things like the president’s executive actions on immigration.
“Absolutely,” Corker said. “Look, obviously we have not liked the executive actions, especially that were taken after the lame duck, but we understand with humility we’ve got a lot of serious issues that need to be addressed. The bigger issues absolutely require the president to be involved, and I think with anticipation we look forward to that opportunity.”
(For more on this sellout, click the link.)