John McCain Evokes Bernie Madoff in Health Care Bill Critique

(CBS)
Senate Republicans are united in their opposition to pending health care reform legislation, and criticisms lately have turned to how Democrats were able to get all 60 members of their caucus to agree to back the bill.

Republican Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, said in an interview with ABC News this morning that the "unsavory process" to get 60 votes – which included, he said, giveaways such as the "Cornhusker kickback," the "Louisiana purchase," the "Florida flim-flam" and "all of the other kinds of dealing that went on" – will be seen as "very distasteful" by the American people.

He went on to call the bill "one of the great Bernie Madoff gimmicks that I've ever seen, that anybody's ever seen."

"If the bill were signed by the president on the first of January, the taxes would kick in, and the Medicare cuts and other cuts would kick in, and it wouldn't be [until] four years later that any of the benefits begin to accrue," he said. "What is that? That's nutty stuff. It's unacceptable."

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The comments come as Republicans continue to rail against the bill even as it looks likely that the Senate will pass it by Christmas.

On CBS' "The Early Show" this morning, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said the process by which Democratic senators have been moving toward passage has "lacked integrity."

"We've taken creative accounting to a level I never thought was imaginable," he said. "I think this bill has so many fundamental flaws. No doubt in a bill this long there are some good things in it, but the way this bill has been constructed as it relates to the accounting, the trickery and certainly some of the last-minute deals that were made, shouldn't make the American people feel very good about Congress and that's regretful."

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