WASHINGTON D.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is optimistic Republicans will be able accomplish a large portion of their ambitious policy agenda, but not without facing some challenges from colleagues across the aisle.
Republicans managed to hold the majority in the upper chamber on election night, much to the surprise of Democrats. While they may outnumber their blue counterparts, Republicans still need to garner some support, as most legislation requires more than 51 votes. According to McConnell, a number of Democrats may have reason to want to work in a bipartisan fashion.
“As your question implies, most of the things we do in the Senate require 60, not just a simple majority of 51 — I have 52 members, assuming we can hold the 52, that’s eight away from 60 — so the Democrats in the Senate won’t be irrelevant,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’re hoping we’ll get at least some level of cooperation from a number of them that are actually in red states that went for Trump — we’ll find out.”
While Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed not to work with Republicans on constructing an Obamacare replacement plan, McConnell noted it isn’t uncommon for Democratic lawmakers to ease on their fiery rhetoric.
“They say they aren’t, but we’ll see. Many times these sort of dogmatic statements fade over a period of time,” he continued. “What we do know is that eight of 10 Americans think that Obamacare should either be entirely replaced or significantly changed.”
Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act was one of the GOP’s biggest platforms during the course of the campaign, and Republicans have reiterated voters sent a loud message on their distaste for President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation.
“They (Democrats) also know if Hillary Clinton had won the election or if Chuck Schumer were the majority leader we’d be revisiting Obamacare — the status quo is simply unacceptable,” he said.
Democrats have already tried to create some roadblocks for the GOP, like attempting to stall a number of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees. McConnell is confident all of the nominees will eventually make it through the confirmation process.
“At some point, ya, unfortunately, they are making some of them much more controversial than they deserve to be,” he said, “and they can slow it down some, which they will, but ultimately it will be futile and they’ll all be confirmed.”
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