'This Week' Transcript: Napolitano, Gibbs, McConnell

MCCONNELL: Well, first, every single Republican opposed the measure. All of the procedural devices that are available to slow down a measure were employed. It didn't pass until Christmas eve at 7:00 a.m. The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the bill. I'm not sure what's to criticize about that from a conservative point of view. And of course, the bill is not law yet. It's still got be reconciled between the House and Senate. There are deep differences among Democrats. Every single Democrat in the Senate provided the one vote that passed this 2,700-page monstrosity. It cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars, raises taxes by half a trillion dollars, and instead of curbing the rate of increase of insurance premiums, most Americans' insurance premiums are going to go up.

This bill is a colossal failure, and that's why the American people were literally screaming at us, you know, please, don't pass this bill.

TAPPER: You criticize this bill for cutting Medicare. And there are Medicare cuts in this. Medicare Advantage is cut. Doctors' fees are cut 21 percent next year. But you have a history also of voting for Medicare cuts as well. In a 1995 deficit reduction plan, you voted to cut Medicare by $270 billion. In a 1996 budget resolution, you voted to cut it $158 billion, and in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, you voted to slow its growth by $393 billion. How do you square those votes from when Senate Republicans ran the Senate, with your current criticism of the bill for cutting Medicare?

MCCONNELL: Easily. Those reductions were related to making the Medicare program itself, which is going broke in seven years, more sustainable. What they're doing here is using Medicare as a piggy bank. They're taking half a trillion dollars out of Medicare, not to save Medicare or to make it more sustainable, but to spend it on a new entitlement program for a whole different set of Americans. So we don't think you ought to take grandma's Medicare and start a new program for someone else.

TAPPER: Do you think that Republicans running for Senate in 2010 should run on a platform of vowing to repeal the health care reform bill, should it become law? And will that be one of your first items should you regain control of the Senate, repealing what you guys call Obama-care?

MCCONNELL: Well, certainly, politically, it's a big problem for them. They all kind of joined hands and went off the cliff together. Every single Democrat provided the vote that passed it in the Senate. You have seen what's happened already with Congressman Parker Griffith in Alabama switching parties. There are rumors there may be others. There is great unrest in the Democratic Party. And the reason for that is, the surveys indicate the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to this effort to have the government take over all of their health care. It will be a huge political issue next year, and that's why you hear the Democrats saying, let's don't tackle any more big issues. I mean, I was reading an article this morning indicating they don't want to do cap-and-trade anymore, they're nervous about financial reregulation. What they understand is the new administration and the new Congress has squandered its goodwill with the American people, leading to what could be a big setback for them a year from now.

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