Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued last Sunday that Republicans deserve at least six additional weeks to consider health care reform before letting the bill come to a vote. But on Friday, his top lieutenant said the entire GOP has already made up its mind on the legislation.
Appearing on Fox News Friday morning, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) insisted that "every single Republican will oppose" even debating health care reform because "they know it will only get worse."
"None of the things that they like about the bill will get better; and the things they object to would take 60 votes to change, and they know they're not going to get 60 votes to amend the bill to their liking," said Kyl, the minority whip in the Senate.
The opposition isn't unexpected. For some time it's been clear that Democrats would be getting either one (Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine) or no Republican Senate votes on health care legislation. But Kyl's prophecy of across-the-board opposition does seem to undercut that other GOP tactic. Why do Senate Republicans need six weeks to debate and consider the legislation if they're already determined to vote against it?
"We know it's been in Harry Reid's office for six weeks and the other 99 senators haven't seen it," McConnell told "Fox News Sunday" last week. "I think we ought to at least have as much time for the other 99 senators and all of the American people to take a look at this bill as Majority Leader Reid has had."
And why, for that matter, are Senate Republicans complaining about a limited three-day window to read the legislation if they have already come to a final verdict on its contents?
"We're now going to have about 72 hours to figure this out," said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), during a speech on the Senate floor on Friday. "But I know this much -- when a bill costs $2 billion a page and when it includes language like that, it's something that we should spend some time on. And this bill's being rushed, and it shouldn't be rushed."