Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said it would take 60 votes in the Senate to repeal ObamaCare despite previously suggesting the law could be erased with a simple majority.
"It would take 60 votes in the Senate, and no one thinks we’re going to have 60 Republicans [after the election] and it would take a presidential signature, no one thinks we’re going to get that," McConnell said on Fox News.
The GOP leader had previously suggested that the budget reconciliation process could be used to repeal ObamaCare, a procedural manuever that would require only 51 votes.
In July 2012, after the Supreme Court upheld the healthcare law's individual mandate as a tax, McConnell said on Fox News Sunday, "The chief justice said it's a tax. Taxes are clearly what we call reconcilable. That's the kind of measure that can be pursued with 51 votes in the Senate."
McConnell made those remarks before President Obama won a second term. Overriding a presidential veto requires a two-thirds vote from both the House and Senate.
The Kentucky senator on Tuesday said Republicans will adopt a piecemeal approach to rolling back the law if they win the majority and force Obama to defend parts of the law that are unpopular.
"Obviously, he’s not going to sign a full repeal, but there are pieces of that [which] are extremely unpopular with the American public that the Senate ought to have a chance to vote on," McConnell said in the interview on Tuesday. "Repealing the medical device tax, trying to restore the 40-hour work week, voting on whether or not we should continue the individual mandate, which people hate, detest and despise."
McConnell, who is in a tough reelection race this year, has faced attacks from Democrats for his opposition to ObamaCare. About 500,000 people have signed up for coverage under the law in Kentucky.
He said in a debate this month that the insurance marketplace under the law, called Kynect, could stay even if ObamaCare is repealed.
McConnell had tough words in the Tuesday interview for Obama's planned immigration executive action, pointing to Congress's spending power.
"We intend to push back against executive orders that aren’t warranted by trying to control the amount of money that is allocated," he said.