President Obama said today, "Congress owes the American people a final vote on health care reform," and he gave Democrats his approval to pass it with reconciliation, a way of bypassing Republican opposition.
The passage of the bill, McConnell said today after the president's remarks, would lead to the "closest we've ever had in this country to a national referendum."
"Every election in America this fall will be a referendum on this issue," he said.
The president today stressed the Republican ideas he included in his health reform proposal, but McConnell said that if the bill passes through reconciliation, "the only thing that will be bipartisan about this proposal is the opposition to it."
Furthermore, he said, the American people are opposed to it. He said that Democratic leaders were misleading their members by telling them that the measure will not be politically damaging once it is passed.
"You ignore the overwhelming desires of the American people at your own peril," McConnell said. "This is politically toxic in the extreme."
McConnell said it was unclear the Democrats' plan for passing the bill could even succeed. The House would have to pass the health care bill already passed by the Senate. Then, both chambers would have to pass a "fix it" reconciliation measure.
House Democrats are "going to be called upon to vote on a bill that has the 'Cornhusker kickback,' the 'Louisiana purchase' ... and all the rest," he said, referring to the "sweetheart deals" negotiated with individual senators to win their votes.
Regardless of whether the second reconciliation measure passes, McConnell said, that first vote for the Senate bill will be on the record, which House Democrats will not be able to escape.