Video Flashback: Republicans Should Follow 2010 Precedent and Delay Tax Bill Until Senator-Elect Doug Jones Is Seated

December 13, 2017

McConnell: “I think is being clear is that there will be no further action in the Senate thanks to Senator Webb until Scott Brown is sworn in.”

Thune: “It is now time to start over on a bipartisan approach”

Grassley: “there ought to be some pause and to step back and review what's been going on for the last year"

VIDEO: Flashback: Republicans should follow 2010 precedent and delay #GOPTaxScam until Senator-Elect Doug Jones is seated.

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Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Well, the winner, whoever it is, should be sworn in promptly.” [Fox News Sunday, 1/18/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The people of Massachusetts spoke and spoke loudly. One concern I know a number of you had about the outcome of this election would be whether the new senator would be seated soon. I am convinced now that no gamesmanship will be played by the other side with regard to future votes in the Senate, thanks to Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, he's made it clear he will not participate in any additional health care votes prior to Senator Brown being sworn in. And I noticed that elected officials in Massachusetts who are principally responsible for certifying the election after earlier saying it could take up to two weeks, now indicated it could be as soon as today. So I don't believe that the kind of thing we've seen on full display with the Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, the gator aid, the drafting the bill behind closed doors. I think the majority has gotten the message and no more gamesmanship here and no more lack of transparency. Let's honor the wishes of the people of Massachusetts and move forward with policy, with our policy debates.” [Press Conference, 1/20/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

QUESTION: Senator McConnell, what is the bottom line though? Is the health care bill as we know it dead?

MCCONNELL: I sure hope so. I sure hope so. What we ought to do as we said repeatedly through the month of December, as you know, we were here every day, we ought to stop and start over and go step-by-step to concentrate on fixing the problem, which is the rising cost and we laid out a series of things that we thought would address the cost problem without having the government takeover one-sixth of our economy. [Press Conference, 1/20/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Well, at the risk of being redundant, what I think is being clear is that there will be no further action in the Senate thanks to Senator Webb until Scott Brown is sworn in.” [Press Conference, 1/20/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Absolutely. We stood up and applauded. I mean, you know, this was significant in every way, not only a Republican being elected in arguably the most liberal state in America, but being elected in large measure on the health care issue. I think Brown's election mean the end of the health care proposal as currently constituted that the Democrats are trying to jam through, that they did jam through the Senate, thanks to the ‘Cornhusker kickback’ and the ‘Louisiana purchase’ and the other tactics that they employed. I think that's over. The American people have been saved from that by the election of the new Massachusetts senator.” [Fox News, 1/21/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

VAN SUSTEREN: How about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? Do you think he wants this to go away?

MCCONNELL: I think you'll have to ask him. But my guess is, further efforts to jam this wildly unpopular bill through this Congress would be very counterproductive for them in next November's election. [Fox News, 1/21/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

QUESTION: When do you expect Senator Brown to be sworn in? Do you expect him to be a reliable 41st vote on health -- (inaudible) --

MCCONNELL: Well, is that directed at me? The Democrats have said they're not going to bring up health care until Senator Brown is sworn in, so I don't think that will happen.

He is working with the people in Massachusetts to comply with Massachusetts law. At whatever point they have complied with Massachusetts law and he has his credentials, we'll be swearing him in.

Q Do you expect him to be a reliable vote?

MCCONNELL: My preference is as soon as possible, but my understanding is that there are all talking to each other up there and that they expect it to be a smooth process. I can't give you a specific date, but I think it's going to be pretty soon. [Press Conference, 1/27/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Gosh, that's a pretty broad question, I mean, we're going to take the issues as the majority brings them up. They have a responsibility. The president has a responsibility to initiate. The majority has a responsibility to set the agenda and I think it's a question more appropriately addressed to them. I can tell you what I wish we would do and I've already said that, I wish we would shelve this $2.5 trillion health care bill that's going to drive up the cost of hiring employees. I've said we ought to handle interrogation and trying of terrorists differently. We hope that on some of these issues where it's clear the American people share our view that the majority will decide, maybe it's a good idea to not arrogantly ignore the views of the American people and go forward as if public opinion was irrelevant. And I think one of the reasons people are so angry this year, they look at what we're doing and they don't think it has any connection with what they think we ought to be doing. That's a curable problem. All the majority needs to do is go in a different direction and if they go in a different direction along the lines that we're talking about, I think people will not be complaining about a lack of bipartisanship. [Press Conference, 1/27/10]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “We need to move in a new direction--a dramatically new direction. That is the message of Virginia. That is the message of New Jersey. That is the message of Massachusetts.” [Floor Remarks, 1/20/10]

Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “And so I hope that this will usher in a new era of transparency and willingness to work together rather than sort of special sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors that cause so much concern in the health care bill and elsewhere. And let me just say that the health care bill is a very important part of what was debated and decided yesterday in this election, but it's not all that was decided. The American people sent a very clear message through the voters of Massachusetts of their concern about the spending and the debt and the government intervention in their lives in ways that limits their freedoms and opportunities in the future of their children and grandchildren.” [Press Conference, 1/20/10]

Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “But the message was not let's tweak this thing around the edges, around the margins. It's about starting over. And if that's what the White House wants to do, I know there are a lot of Republicans that would like to work with them to try to do things that will actually bring down the costs of health care and will make it more affordable.” [Fox News Sunday, 1/24/10]

Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “No, we want a seat at the table. That's what I think the voters in Massachusetts were saying. They want a seat at the table. They don't want any of these behind-closed-doors, sweetheart deals that made a mockery of the democratic process, the legislative process here in Washington. If the White House and Democrats will agree to an open, transparent process where our ideas are considered and perhaps included in some legislation, I think we can start over with a step- by-step approach that will result in real reform, not just reform in name only.” [Fox News Sunday, 1/24/10]

Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX):

MITCHELL: Let's talk about health care and the way forward. Mitch McConnell said that the Republican Party, Republicans in the Senate are willing to meet the president halfway. What kind of compromise could come out of any talks right now if the White House wanted to go back to square one?

CORNYN: Well, it's all up to the president and the Democratic leadership who heretofore have largely excluded Republican participation. I think one of the most important things that was established by this election last night is now the American people have a seat at the table, which previously -- they'd been shut out from negotiations behind closed doors with special deals. So what we need is a more open process where the White House and leadership entertain and maybe, heaven forbid, actually embrace a couple of ideas we have and try to come up with a bipartisan bill. I think that's still possible.

MITCHELL: What if they proceed and if the House decides to accept the Senate bill and there is a vote after Senator Brown, Senator-elect Brown is sworn in, if there's a vote and the House has accepted this bill and they don't try to ram it down your throats? What do you do next?

SEN. CORNYN: Well, that's certainly possible that they could simply get the House to swallow hard and pass the Senate bill, but I think there are a lot of big obstacles to that, things like the excise tax on insurance policies, things like the abortion language, which Representative Stupak and others have vehemently opposed to expanding taxpayer funding for abortions. So I don't see that path being an easy one going forward. I think the more prudent path, one which would be responsive to the message that the American people were sending last night, particularly Massachusetts voters is slow down, work together, listen to us and our concerns. Just don't try to pass something and ignore our disapproval of what you're trying to do. [MSNBC ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS, 1/20/17]

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “Now that the people have spoken in Massachusetts, we should abandon these arrogant notions of trying to turn our entire health care system upside down all at once and, instead, set a clear goal of reducing health care costs and then work together, step by step, to re-earn the trust of the American people--an approach Republican Senators urged exactly 173 different times on the floor of the Senate during last year.” [Floor Remarks, 1/20/10]

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “Tuesday's election in Massachusetts is the latest reminder that the American people are tired of risky, comprehensive schemes featuring taxes, debt, and Washington takeovers, as well as lots of hidden and unexpected surprises. It is time to declare that the era of the 1,000-page bill is over or the era of the 2,000-page bill is over or the era of the 2,700-page bill is over. A wise approach would be to set a clear goal, such as reducing health care costs, take a few steps in that direction and then a few more so that we can start solving the country's problems in a way that reearns the trust of the American people.” [Floor Remarks, 1/21/10]

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “The results of this election also reflect the fact that so many people are appalled at the process by which the health care bill was negotiated behind closed doors, rammed through the Senate with limited debate and amendments, and riddled with special deals to garner votes,” Collins said in a statement. “They want their elected officials to set partisan politics aside and work together to forge solutions to the many challenges facing our country, particularly the need to strengthen the economy.” Collins said she hoped the Massachusetts election would prompt congressional leadership to “start from scratch” and draft new legislation. [Lewiston Sun Journal, 1/22/10]

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID): "It is clear that voters are frustrated and feeling disenfranchised by many of the decisions being made in Washington, D.C. The results of tonight's vote may well change the future for health care legislation, and I am hopeful that in the long run, the Majority in Congress and the President will listen to the people's wishes and craft policies with broad public support." [Press Release, 1/19/10]

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “With the election results in a state like Massachusetts, I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will be convinced to go back to the drawing board on the issue of health care reform.” [Press Release, 1/19/10]

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY): “I congratulate Senator-elect Brown and look forward to working with the new junior senator from Massachusetts. There is a lesson to be learned by both parties from this election and all recent elections where there was a large shift from one party to another. We need to work together and be willing to take the good ideas from both sides of the aisle. It is what I’ve been saying with my 80 percent rule. We can agree on about 80 percent of the issues and should work on those rather than trying to force the other side to accept the 20 percent on which we disagree. The interests of the people have to come before our own political interests.” [Press Release, 1/20/10]

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY): “I also want to register my concern with hastily moving controversial nominees before the seating of Senator-Elect Scott Brown.  Earlier this week, the Senate invoked cloture on Patricia Smith, by a vote of 60-32 – on a nominee who was voted out of committee on a straight party line vote. And following this Executive Session, the full Senate will vote on her confirmation.  I have been supportive of nearly all of the nominees who have come before this Committee, and I have worked hard with the Chairman to swiftly confirm these nominees and put them in office.  But the Senate has an important responsibility of advice and consent. To regain the trust of the American people, we should refrain from jamming through nominees along party lines. Instead, I urge this Administration to find qualified nominees who will enjoy broad support in the Senate and I have offered my commitment to assist with swift confirmation.” [Statement, 2/4/10]

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "This is the result of a bill done behind closed doors," Graham said, adding 111,000 South Carolina seniors have Advantage plans. "We cannot take away Medicare Advantage for 49 states and give it to one because you want his vote." Meanwhile, Graham said the Obama administration tried to push a bill through that isn't bipartisan and that the Massachusetts race illustrates the nation's desire to go back to the drawing board on reform. He issued a warning that any effort to pass a bill through the Senate will result in "holy hell." "It will be almost impossible for us to work together on other matters there are very important to the country," he said. [Greenville News, 1/18/10]

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): "I think it is almost an indication that there ought to be some pause and to step back and review what's been going on for the last year," Grassley said during his weekly telephone news conference. "And then, after that pause, if there's a decision to go ahead, obviously that decision's going to be on a bipartisan basis." [Daily Nonpareil, 1/21/10]

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “It's what I call an arrogance of power. And not only will they do that, but they don't have any transparency at all, after the president and even they said that their approach would be transparent in comparison to what happened in the past. So you know, it is amazing to me that they still want to pass an ultraliberal, out of control bill that really can't be paid for after having suffered this defeat in Massachusetts and look, I don't think anybody can say that that defeat didn't come about, hardly in fact in great measure, because of the so-called health care reform bill that was passed by the Senate and the one passed by the House, both very partisan bills.” [Fox Business News Happy Hour, 1/20/10]

Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “The Democrats’ partisan, back-room approach to writing a health care bill has … been thoroughly rejected, as last night’s results make clear,” Thune said in a statement. “It is now time to start over on a bipartisan approach and find solutions to lowering costs and improving care.” [Capital Journal, 1/20/17]

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): “Tonight, voters in Massachusetts made their voices heard. In one of the most Democratic states in the country, voters elected Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate in a demonstration of their opposition to one-Party Democratic rule in Washington and the nearly $1 trillion health care monstrosity the Democrats are trying to ram through Congress. … Now the one-Party-rule Democrats are talking about circumventing the normal congressional process, either by having the House accept the Senate version of the bill, or stalling Scott Brown’s swearing in. …  It is time to start over and begin the process of working on bipartisan, commonsense health care reform that brings real competition to the health insurance market and lowers the cost of care." [Press Release, 1/19/10]

Then-Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL): "The American people are serious about smart health care reform, but they recognize a shell game when they see one. Congress chose not to listen, instead rushing the bill through in the dead of night. This election should be a wake-up call. The people of Massachusetts, in a historically blue state, have joined with the rest of the country in expressing their opposition to the health care plan by electing a Republican who said he would vote against it.” [Press Release, 1/19/10]