In 25 Seconds, Mitch McConnell Reveals Everything Wrong with Trumpcare

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Journalist, Think Progress

“The reason the American people didn’t accept this health care bill is ’cause they knew it had no bipartisan support, in addition to the fact that it was an awful proposal cooked up behind closed doors with a whole lot of special deals.”

You might think that quote comes from a Democratic member of Congress talking about the American Health Care Act (AHCA), but it doesn’t — it’s actually Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sounding off on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during an MSNBC interview back in January 2010.

In one 25-second video clip, McConnell managed to touch on all the things people find objectionable about the process Republicans are using to push the AHCA — a bill being drafted being closed doors, without Democratic input, and reportedly featuring “special deals” meant to make it palatable for conservative Republicans who, as an article of faith, object to any redistribution of wealth.

“Everything about it turned the American people off — that’s not the way to operate,” McConnell continued. “The president ought to take this as a message to recalibrate how he wants to govern, and if he wants to govern in the middle, I think we’ll be happy to meet him there.”

McConnell’s criticism of the ACA was unfair — the major parts of the bill passed through regular order after 160 hours of debate on the Senate floor, and it ultimately included 171 Republican amendments.

By contrast, Republicans are racing to force a vote on the AHCA next week, despite the fact that the bill — which has been worked on primarily by an all-male group of Republican senators — still hasn’t been released for public scrutiny. Not only have Democrats not seen it or had the chance to provide input, but a number of Republican senators and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price have admitted they haven’t seen it either.

McConnell’s video clip isn’t the only instance of him blasting the ACA process that is regrettable for him and his party in hindsight.

And he’s far from alone.

While public approval of the ACA remains solidly above 50 percent, the AHCA is deeply unpopular; Fox News recently covered a poll showing that only 17 percent of American approve of it. That’s not surprising, given that the Senate version of the bill is reportedly shaping up to be an even harsher version of the House bill that would result in 23 million people losing their health insurance.

But the secretive process McConnell and other Republicans decried in 2010 has a purpose now that they’re pushing their own health care bill. By keeping the circle of people who have knowledge of the AHCA tight, McConnell is giving “moderate” Republican senators cover to criticize the process while not having to answer questions about the bill’s substance or announce whether they plan to vote for it.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work