McCain vows to press fight against Democratic deal-making on health reform
A Senate healthcare vote in the wee hours Monday morning got Senator John McCain riled up and quoting Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones.
The 60-40 procedural vote let Democrats limit debate on the healthcare bill and quashed any Republican hopes for a filibuster, where they could grab control of the floor and talk the measure to death.
The move prompted Republicans to cry foul. War hero McCain gave notice that he wasn’t letting go. He invoked war hero and naval Captain John Paul Jones, who famously rejected suggestions of surrender and told his British opponent, “I have not yet begun to fight.”
McCain was rather less pithy. He vowed to travel the country, visiting town halls, senior centers and Rotary Clubs to rally opposition to the healthcare reform bill.
“We have just begun to fight,” he said.
The battle lines of McCain’s fight were taking shape by Monday morning talk show time.
He told ABC’s “Good Morning America” program that 60 percent of the public opposed the healthcare reform bill and more would balk at the measure once “they find out about this unsavory process.”
McCain cited “the Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, the Florida flim-flam” — Republican names for various deals the Democratic leadership made with senators to win their backing.
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the Cornhusker state, won a deal providing extra Medicaid funds for his state and ensuring federal funds would not be used for abortions.
Senator Mary Landrieu got a $300 million increase in Medicaid for her state of Louisiana in exchange for her backing.
And Florida Senator Bill Nelson got a deal that to protect Medicare Advantage benefits for voters in his state.
It wasn’t just the wheeling and dealing that had McCain upset.
“If the bill were signed by the president on the first of January, the taxes would kick in and the Medicare cuts and other cuts kick in, and it wouldn’t be (until) four years later that any of the benefits begin to accrue,” McCain told “Good Morning America. ”
“What is that?” he said. “That’s nutty stuff.”
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Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (McCain in his office during interview)