Critical Condition

Kyl Speaks Out

Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), the Senate minority whip, spoke with NRO this morning about the state of the health-care debate. “The fate of any bill lies in the hands of the American people,” says Kyl. “If the American people continue to register their opposition, this debate will start to look a lot like the immigration debate from a few years ago, where the bill seemed predestined for passage. After the American people spoke up, many senators made sure not to buck the will of their constituents. The same thing could happen here.”

If the Democrats’ health-care legislation failed, Kyl says that would be a “good result,” since then all senators “would have to come back in a more reflective mood understanding that the American people don’t want a gargantuan government takeover. They want us to eliminate the debt and let them determine their own care.”

For now, Kyl says Senate Republicans are examining the bill coming out of the Finance Committee and “looking at a list of amendments to offer during the mark up.”

“I assume that the Democrats will provide the necessary number of votes to get their bill out of the committee. They may offer amendments to move toward the left,” says Kyl. “Their leadership has a real problem: How do you merge the Baucus [Finance Committee] bill and the HELP [Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions] bill? It’s difficult to integrate those two things.”

“The Americana people will be very concerned” if Democrats try to use “reconciliation,” a Senate procedural tool in which a majority party can pass a bill while skirting the threat of a filibuster, to pass their health-care bill, says Kyl. “That’s why we could end up with two different bills: One sub-bill with sweeteners, mostly about nothing, that could get 60 votes, and another with spinach, that includes all of the tax increases, taxes on premiums, and Medicare cuts, that could maybe get 50 votes.”

“Just stop and think about this,” says Kyl. “Every public-opinion survey shows opposition to this. Now the Democrats are preparing to go against the will of the American people. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Robert Costa was formerly the Washington editor for National Review.

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