McConnell on PBS NewsHour

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour today to discuss Washington Democrats’ partisan $1.9 trillion spending bill, H.R. 1, the legislative filibuster, and vaccines. See below for highlights or click here to watch the full interview.

On Democrats’ $1.9 Trillion Spending Bill:

“Let's look at the history of the pandemic, which really started about a year ago. We passed five bills last year, Judy: five of them, the biggest one being the CARES Act, on a bipartisan basis. Not a single one of them got more than eight votes in opposition. We, just two months ago, passed one of those five, $900 billion. It’s not even out the door yet, and yet the new administration wants to go back as if nothing has happened in the last year, and do another bill that the president will sign today, the size of the bill we did a year ago at the height of the epidemic.

“So I understand why the American people's initial response to this is positive. What they do not know is how much of the bill has nothing to do with the pandemic. Less than 1% of it deals with vaccinations. Only about 9% of it deals with health care. All the rest of it is unrelated to the problem it's designed to address.”


“What I'm saying is the economy is about to come roaring back. What the administration is trying to do here, Judy, is to get in front of the parade so they can take credit for what's already happening based upon what we have already done. The economy is just going to have a fabulous year. It has nothing to do with this massive Democratic wish-list of items that their various constituencies warrant.”

On HR-1:

“Well, it's another bill that passed with not a single Republican vote. And the reason for it is, even though it's styled as somewhat related to what they call voter suppression, what I read the states are doing is restoring some of the voting practices that existed before the pandemic. In other words, simply eliminating some of the emergency provisions that were there during the pandemic.

“This is an outrageous, one-party takeover of the way we conduct elections in this country. And there will be overwhelming, total Republican opposition to it in the Senate just like there was in the House.”

On Preserving the Legislative Filibuster:

“The legislative filibuster has been there for a very long time. Our Democratic friends in the minority last year used it frequently to stop things that we might have wanted to do.

“But now they're threatening to blow the place up and turn the Senate into the House so they can get their way with presumably 50 Democrats voting yes and the vice president being in the chair. There is considerable reluctance on the other side to do that because people remember when they were in the minority. What the Senate filibuster does is one of two things: either really bad ideas don't pass at all, or you sit down and reach a bipartisan agreement. And that's why Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema have said under no circumstances would they participate in turning the Senate into the House.”

On the Importance of Vaccines:

“As soon as I was eligible, I took it. I’ve encouraged everybody in my state to take it and these shouldn't be partisan issues, either mask-wearing or getting the vaccination. Getting the vaccination is important. I would encourage everyone to do that, without exception. They’re proven safe and necessary if we're going to get this pandemic in the rearview mirror.”