BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky — A potential Republican-controlled Senate should focus more on legislation it will be able to pass instead of throwing all its energy into a wholesale repeal of Obamacare, both Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell agreed on Monday.
Sen. Ted Cruz — a likely 2016 presidential candidate like Paul, and the ringleader of the aggressive House Republican caucus from his perch in the Senate — told the Washington Post on Sunday that if the Republicans win the Senate this Election Day, they should "pursue every means possible to repeal Obamacare," including exploiting various parliamentary procedures to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
"We ought to concentrate just on winning" the election, Paul said when asked about Cruz's comments on Monday after a stop on the campaign trail with McConnell in Kentucky. "There are a lot of things I want to do, and everybody has their own sort of agenda."
"I think one of the most important things we can do that has bipartisan support is to lower the tax on American money overseas and try to invite it home," Paul said. "Barbara Boxer supports it, I support it."
"It's gonna have to be things we can agree to," Paul said. "I'm not saying we don't have a vote on repealing Obamacare; we should have a vote. I'm not sure how far that goes but we should have a vote on it. But I also want to pass some stuff and one of the things I think would help the country would be to bring all that American profit home and create jobs."
Speaking after his campaign stop in Bowling Green, McConnell echoed Paul, saying that there is little chance that the president would sign a repeal bill, though his conference will try to take apart the Affordable Care Act piece by piece.
A GOP-led Senate "would certainly be voting on things like repealing the medical device tax, restoring the 40-hour work week, discontinuing the individual mandate," McConnell told reporters. "With the president in the position that he's in, I can't imagine he would sign a full repeal, but there's various parts of it that are very unpopular and we will be voting on them."
In his Washington Post interview, Cruz also declined to promise to back McConnell for Republican leader in the Senate.
Asked if this concerned him, McConnell said, "No."
"I don't think there's any question who's gonna be the leader of the Republicans in the Senate," McConnell said. "The only question is whether we'll be in the majority or not."
"In our conference we have everybody from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz, we have lots of different opinions, and we'll all sit down together and figure out the way forward," McConnell said.
Asked about Cruz's stance on McConnell as leader, Paul declined to comment but said that he would support McConnell for leader. Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, campaigned for McConnell all day on Monday, and the two lavished praise on each other on the trail.