Mitch McConnell

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

The defeat of the GOP Senate health care bill is a major blow to all Republicans involved.

President Trump, whose approval rating is lower than any recent president this early in his term, is now staring at an agenda imperiled. Despite his boasts, he has achieved little of significance through Congress. That failure is compounded by the fact that his party controls both chambers.

The Senate will postpone its consideration of the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act until Sen. John McCain returns to Washington.

The Republican senator from Arizona is recovering from brain surgery performed Friday to remove a nearly 2-inch blood clot from above his left eye. The surgery was described as a "minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision."

The next few days will be critical for Senate Republicans' effort to repeal and replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will release a new version of the bill Thursday, and aims to hold a key vote on it early next week.

If that process fails, McConnell has floated the idea of working with Democrats on a bipartisan measure. "No action is not an alternative," he said in Kentucky during the July 4th recess. "We've got the insurance markets imploding all over the country."

McConnell Says He'll Rework Health Bill, But Offers Plan B

Jul 7, 2017
NPR

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans to produce a fresh bill in about a week scuttling and replacing much of President Barack Obama's health care law. But he's also acknowledging a Plan B if that effort continues to flounder.

"If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur," McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday. It was one of his most explicit concessions that a top priority for President Donald Trump and the entire GOP, erasing much of Obama's landmark 2010 statute, might fall short.

Senators Take Heat On Health Care During Summer Break

Jul 6, 2017
Nicole Erwin

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to the western Kentucky city of Paducah this week to talk about improvements to a local flood wall. Instead he heard a flood of complaints from more than 30 protesters upset about the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

“We will not go away, don’t destroy the ACA!” the protesters chanted, and relayed their concerns about the Senate bill’s projected cuts.

J. Tyler Franklin

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has unveiled the newest version of a bill to replace many provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Negotiations over the much-anticipated bill were held in private, with even some Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul criticizing the secretive process “with little time to fully evaluate the proposal.”

Paul issued a statement Thursday saying he wasn’t ready to vote in favor of the new bill because it doesn’t fully repeal Obamacare.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is slamming efforts led by Senate Majority Leader and fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

Paul said he won’t know how he will vote until the bill is released to legislators on Thursday, but he anticipates that McConnell won’t have the votes and will have to renegotiate the legislation with members of his own party.

McConnell Juggling Diverse Demands on Republican Health Bill

May 30, 2017
Cheryl Beckley, WKU PBS

For Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, writing a Republican-only health care bill that can pass the Senate boils down to this question: How do you solve a problem like Dean, Lisa, Patrick, Ted, Rand and Susan?

Those are some GOP senators whose clashing demands McConnell, R-Ky., must resolve. Facing solid Democratic opposition to demolishing former President Barack Obama's 2010 overhaul, Republicans will lose if just three of their 52 senators defect.

In a report that complicated McConnell's task, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office delivered a damaging critique last week of the GOP-written bill the House approved May 4. It concluded the measure would create 23 million additional uninsured Americans by 2026; lower premiums for younger and healthy people by letting them buy sparser coverage; and confront unhealthy, poorer and older consumers with exorbitant out-of-pocket costs.

U.S. Senate Acts on Trump Pick, Promotes Judge to Appeals Court

May 25, 2017
Vanderbilt University

The Senate on Thursday filled the first federal appeals court vacancy in more than a year, promoting a trial court judge who is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky was confirmed for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a 52-44 vote. Thapar was the first judge nominated by President Donald Trump to a district or appeals court.

There are about 120 court vacancies now, with Senate Republicans having slowed confirmations toward the end of President Barack Obama's term.

The last appeals court nominee to be confirmed: U.S. District Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo in January 2016 for the 3rd Circuit after a wait of more than 400 days.

screenshot/youtube

Long before Roger Ailes stepped down from his post at the helm of Fox News in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, he was a political operative working for Republican politicians like Mitch McConnell.

Ailes passed away on Thursday at the age of 77.

Back in 1984, he made a notorious advertisement featuring a gaggle of hound dogs that helped launch McConnell’s career in Washington.

“Nobody thought Mitch McConnell was going to beat Dee Huddleston,” said Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

Martin Falbisoner/Creative Commons

None of Kentucky’s Republican senators or congressmen responded to requests for comment on allegations that President Donald Trump gave classified information to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister last week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefly addressed the issue during an interview on Bloomberg TV Tuesday morning.

“I think we can do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda,” McConnell said.

Rich Girard/Creative Commons

In the wake of President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a special prosecutor is not needed to investigate Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.

Democrats — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky — ramped up calls for an independent investigation into Russia’s meddling after Comey’s abrupt removal.

On the Senate Floor, McConnell dismissed the requests.

“Today we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done,” McConnell said.

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

AP Interview: McConnell Warns Republicans On Health Bill

Mar 22, 2017
Abbey Oldham

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned fellow Republicans Tuesday of political consequences if they oppose health care legislation coming up for a vote in the House this week.

“I would hate to be a Republican whose vote prevented us from keeping the commitment we’ve made to the American people for almost 10 years now” to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Kentucky Republican told Associated Press reporters and editors in an interview.

“I think the American people would be deeply disappointed that we were prevented from keeping our commitment by Republicans who in the end, in effect, voted for the status quo.”

Mitch McConnell Interrupted as Trump Protests Continue

Feb 23, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Two protesters interrupted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's speech Thursday before a suit-and-tie crowd at a local chamber of commerce luncheon in northern Kentucky to demand he speak with them.

McConnell has made three days of public appearances in Kentucky that required attendees to have tickets. Both protesters, who did not identify themselves, were quickly escorted out of the room. McConnell quipped, "I see we're having multiple speakers today," before continuing his speech.

Afterward, McConnell told reporters he is listening to what the protesters have to say, but he said they have a fundamental disagreement. He defended their right to protest.

Hundreds of protesters have greeted McConnell this week. Many, including 35-year-old Steve Felix of Highland Heights, held signs demanding Republicans back off plans to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act. McConnell vowed Congress would repeal the law "this year."

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