Sen. Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellPoll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch Cardboard cutouts take place of absent lawmakers at town halls GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare MORE (R-Ky.) is planning to make ObamaCare a priority in his first weeks as leader of the Senate, vowing a sustained effort to dismantle the law piece-by-piece.
McConnell said the GOP will tackle unpopular aspects of the law such as the individual mandate, the medical device tax and the 30-hour workweek requiring employers to provide insurance.
“These are the kinds of things that I believe there is a bipartisan majority in the Senate to approve,” he said in the interview with Time magazine published Wednesday. The only other priority he listed was the Keystone XL pipeline.
The newly reelected senator isn't giving up on full repeal, however.
"He does support full repeal and will continue to push for it," McConnell spokesman Brian McGuire told The Hill.
But recognizing that a repeal bill would be rejected by the White House, McGuire said McConnell is looking to strike down pieces of the law "at the same time, on a dual track."
Elsewhere in the Time interview, McConnell vowed to restore order in the Senate. To “get back to normal,” he said, senators might have to begin working occasionally on Fridays, something that has rarely happened under the Democratic majority.
“Some of it has to do with rebuilding relationships across the aisle and some of it has to do with just simply working harder,” he said.
He also promised no more government shutdowns, asserting that the Senate would pass a budget and appropriations bills on time.
“Remember me? I’m the guy that gets us out of government shutdowns,” he said.
McConnell’s stance on ObamaCare is largely in line with his promises on the campaign trail.
In a debate against his Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes last month, he said he would take apart ObamaCare “root and branch.”
Full repeal will be a difficult challenge now that the law is providing health insurance for millions of people. McConnell suggested during his reelection race that Kentucky's website for purchasing insurance, Kentucky Kynect, could stay even if the healthcare law is rolled back.
McConnell said that he would look for compromises with President Obama, possibly on issues like immigration or international trade. He added that in the past, he has been the one who has cut deals with the Democrats: “All of them.”
“I’m not fundamentally opposed to negotiating with the president and his team and, in fact, I’ve been the one who’s done that in the past. So, sure, he’s going to be there for two more years, so we’re going to sit down and talk to him and see what we might be able to agree on,” he said.
— This story was updated at 2:23 p.m.