Senate’s #2 Republican: No GOP support for reform

SENATE’S #2 REPUBLICAN: NO GOP SUPPORT FOR REFORM…. I think Sen. Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona, the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate, said something really important this morning.

The Senate Republican whip, speaking to reporters on a conference call from his home state of Arizona, said that even if the Democrats do away with a government-run insurance option, the GOP most likely won’t support the bill that’s being written in the Senate.

“I think it’s safe to say that there are a huge number of big issues that people have,” Kyl said, referring to Republican senators. “There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill.”

Asked if he’d support a bill if it were deficit neutral, Kyl said Dems may find a way to pass reform without adding to the debt, “but that doesn’t mean the Republicans will support it.” Asked if he could tolerate a nonprofit insurance cooperative instead of a public option, Kyl added that a co-op is “a step towards government-run health care in this country.” The Senate Minority Whip added that “almost all Republicans” are likely to oppose reform, even if it’s the result of a bipartisan compromise.

So, bipartisan talks just officially died, right? There’s no real ambiguity here — a member of the Senate GOP leadership announced, publicly and on the record, that Republicans are going to oppose health care reform, no matter how many concessions Democrats make.

This strikes me as a very important development. For months, the Senate process has been slowed, stalled, and delayed while talks continued in search of a “bipartisan compromise.” The goal — embraced by Dems on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenie — has been to try to find a package that members of both parties could embrace. Those negotiations continue, though the leading Republican in the talks said yesterday that he’ll vote against his own compromise if his party isn’t on board with reform.

And Jon Kyl just explained that the GOP is going to oppose reform.

By any reasonable measure, Kyl’s remarks should be the death knell of bipartisan negotiations. The left has been saying for months, “No matter what, Republicans are going to oppose the final bill.” And this morning, Kyl effectively said the left is correct.

Then, logically, there’s simply no need for bipartisan talks. Short of Mitch McConnell hanging a banner outside his door reading, “Please stop trying to reach out to us,” I don’t think it can get any clearer.

Will Senate Democrats get the message?