The Senate's health reform debate should take "weeks and weeks and weeks," its top Republican said Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he preferred to see an extended debate over the Senate's health bill, including plenty of opportunities for senators to offer amendments. 

"We need to have the kind of debate we always have in the Senate on matters of enormous importance," McConnell said during an appearance on Fox News. "It should go on weeks and weeks and weeks."


"We're going to need to have the opportunity to offer amendments, a lot of amendments to try to fix this monstrosity," the GOP leader added.

McConnell's remarks come after reports have been swirling that Democratic leaders in the Senate believe the debate over its health bill will extend into early 2010. It also comes amidst charges from Democrats that, for some time now, Republicans have sought to slow down key pieces of legislation, such as climate change and unemployment benefits bills, through amendments and protracted debate.

Democrats are waiting for scoring from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the bill before committing to final legislative language in their health bill. Even after that, though, they may not yet have the 60 votes within their own caucus to proceed to a debate.

"I mean, his problem is with his own members," McConnell said of Reid's effort to assemble votes for the bill. "I mean, he knows where my side is."