McConnell: ObamaCare repeal could be first vote in Senate

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Senate GOP eyes 'nuclear option' for Trump nominees next week Taiwan’s President Tsai should be invited to address Congress MORE said a vote to repeal ObamaCare is “number one” on his list of priorities when the GOP takes control next month.

“We certainly will have a vote on proceeding to a bill to repeal Obamacare,” McConnell said in an interview with CQ Roll Call. “It was a very large issue in the campaign.”

The vote will be largely symbolic while President Obama remains in the White House, similar to the dozens of votes taken by the House to repeal the bill. But the soon-to-be Senate leader promised to make Congress more functional and avoid partisan bantering.

“What we want to be is a responsible, right-of-center governing majority,” McConnell said. “We don’t intend to engage in rhetoric nor actions that rattle the public, that rattle the markets.

McConnell, along with a growing number of rank-and-file Republicans, have acknowledged that they don’t have the votes to overpower the president's veto on an ObamaCare repeal.

“It is a statement to the obvious, however, that Obama — of Obamacare — is the president of the United States,” he said.

He has said the GOP has a better chance of breaking apart the law piece-by-piece or taking it to the courts.

Still, the vote will excite the GOP base and set the tone as the party continues to oppose the law.

The Republicans’ midterm sweep will add fire to their attack against ObamaCare. Though the issue was far less prevalent than the 2012 elections, the House GOP’s campaign arm aired more ads on ObamaCare than any other issue this fall.