Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) damped down expectations about the repeal of health care reform on Thursday, saying that the only way that goal can truly be achieved is if voters help get rid of President Obama in 2012.
McConnell stood by his recent comments that the "single most important thing" for the GOP to achieve in the new Congress is to make sure Obama doesn't get a second term.
"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 at a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation on Thursday at 11:00 a.m, according to his prepared remarks. "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 it is to put someone in the White House who won't veto any of these things. We can hope the President will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday's election. But we can't plan on it."
McConnell added that Republicans will still nevertheless repeatedly propose and vote on straight repeal. "But we can't expect the president to sign it," he added. "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."
In his speech, McConnell also sent a warning to the Obama administration to be ready for constant investigations.
"Oversight will play a crucial role in Republican efforts going forward," he said in his prepared remarks, adding, "Through oversight we'll also keep a spotlight on the various agencies the administration will now use to advance through regulation what it can't through legislation."
In the House, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Cali.) is likely to take over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and aggressively use his newfound power to probe the administration. He has already gained praise in conservative circles for aggressively going after Obama on issues such as what offer the White House made Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) in an effort to persuade him to drop his Senate run.
In addition to investigations, McConnell will talk on Thursday about plans to "freeze and cut discretionary spending" and "fight to make sure that any spending bill that reaches the Senate floor is amendable, so members can vote for the spending cuts Americans are asking for."