McCain vows to press fight against Democratic deal-making on health reform

December 21, 2009

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.
OBAMA-MCCAIN/
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.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (McCain in his office during interview)

7 comments

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I am not a great fan of McCain, but he is exactly right on this. What is happening with this health care bill is bribery. Last I heard, bribery was illegal and they aren’t even trying to hide it.

The majority of Americans are against this health care fiasco from becoming law, but with this bunch in power, it doesn’t matter one bit to them….not one bit!

It’s a travesty.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

TyC…have you been asleep all this time. This is fundamentally what’s wrong with the Congress and why they can’t get spending under control. Both Democrats and Republicans make these kind of deals all the time to get bills passed. McCain acts this is the first time. He’s full of it (and I’m from Arizona). When a bill like this comes up, if something in it negatively impacts a congressman’s state, they either water the bill down or give them money for their state to get their vote for the bill.

Posted by justanotherjoe | Report as abusive

justanotherjoe. I know that and I agree with you.

But that isn’t the point, this health care fiasco is the biggest government takeover in a generation. Everything about it is a sham. I am glad someone, even McCain (who I did say I am not big fan of…perhaps you were asleep when you were reading my post…), is exposing this. It’s all the “majority” (56 to 60 percent) has to try to stop this mess from becoming law.

This isn’t just any ol’ everyday bill working its way through congress. This will negatively affect all of us who have insurance we are happy with (approximately 80 percent are happy). So who really cares about Arizona? Only you. I am talking about all 50 states and the mess 60 senators about to thrust on us.

It’s a travesty.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

TyC..I feel your pain. Many in this country want to blame Obama for the sorry state of affairs our country is in. We kicked the Republican’s out after they created a mess. The Democrats must not have gotten the message…they are stinking the place up as well. It’s not the Bush’s or the Obama’s that are taking our country to hell in a hand basket. It’s Congress.

Posted by justanotherjoe | Report as abusive

Actually, it is Obama’s problem and he guaranteed the American people that unemployment would not go over 8 percent if the so called Stimulus Package was passed. He tried to take credit for one month when the unemployment numbers went down a little a few months ago. He then said it is his economy now. So, it is his mess and he can’t have it both ways.

Okay fine It is the fault of congress. The problems didn’t start until the do nothing democrats took control of the house and senate in 2006. They sat on their butts for two years letting everything go to hell and a handbasket and then blaming Bush for every problem they created. So, yes congress is the problem.

But the reality is that it wasn’t a problem Bush or the republicans created. This problem we have now is a result of decades worth of bad and self serving decisions by members of both parties. That’s the reality.

Time to stop blaming Bush for the world’s problems. Obama is clearly proving that he is up to the task of outdoing Bush on the way to destroying this country. That’s why Obama job approval rating has fallen to 44 percent (worst start ever for a president). By comparison, Bush’s job approval rating never fell below 55 percent the first year he was in office. It wasn’t until the do nothing democrats took over congress in 2006 that he job approval rating fell below 44 percent (give or take a few months…).

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Hypocrites.
The Stimulus package passed with zero Republican votes. So the GOP can shut its mouth about whether it worked or not. Tax cuts for the rich do nothing for the economy and that’s all they have to offer.

Oh, sure, everything was just PERFECT until 2006. What an idiotic statement. Again the GOP has nothing to offer except the filibuster. Republicans have again broken their own record for the filibuster, and with 11 months to spare. Their big idea is to use whatever parliamentary rule they can come up with to grind congress to a halt, then point the finger at the Democrats and say, “Look, it’s the do-nothing Democrats. They can’t get any legislation passed! They can’t govern!” That’s the best they can come up with, and cynical doesn’t even begin to describe it. Pathetic.

Obama gets all the credit he deserves. He started out saying all these wonderful things about healthcare for all and how he is 100% behind a public option. When push came to shove, he folded like wet cardboard. That’s why he was so popular before, and why he is not so popular now. He has failed the leadership test. Bush was a cocky little prick who had the corporate media wiping his butt for him every day. When his poll numbers collapsed, the official talking point was, “we don’t care what the polls say.” Those same people won’t shut up about Obama’s poll numbers. They say you can’t have it both ways, but they want it both ways when it’s convenient for them. Cynical hypocrites.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive

Yellow, in case you haven’t noticed, the filibuster is a non-issue. So why even bring it up, it isn’t going to happen with this health care fiasco.

Obama is a poor president. That’s all that needs to be said. To bring up Bush is only to make yourself feel better. He isn’t president now….Almost a year now. I am certain Obama would not be elected today because everyone knows he isn’t that good. I do with Bush was still president if you want to make comparisons. He was a very popular president, compared to Obama, if you take his average job approval ratings (which never fell below 55 percent before 9/11).

I am saying this now, this health care fiasco is going to be a rude awakening to the American people if it actually passes in to law. Mark my words.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive