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GOP focuses on health care law repeal in weekly address

By Gregory Wallace, CNN
updated 9:46 AM EDT, Sat March 24, 2012

(CNN) -- Ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court review of the health care reform law that many Republicans call "Obamacare," and a day after the law's two-year anniversary, Sen. Mitch McConnell used the GOP weekly address Saturday to hammer President Barack Obama over the measure.

"The president was certainly right to join a call for health care reform," McConnell, of Kentucky and the Senate minority leader, said. "But the giant bill that he and others rammed through Congress has made things worse."

He repeated a call for repeal -- made by many in the GOP -- arguing the law does not fix but rather exacerbates issues with Medicare funding, access to care, and rising costs.

McConnell spoke against the individual mandate provision, which is central to the Supreme Court's consideration of the law. On Tuesday, the court will hear arguments for and against the mandate, and on Wednesday, lawyers will argue whether the constitutionality of the mandate provision decides the constitutionality of the entire law.

Obama: Transportation bill must pass

Obama did not address the health law in his address. Instead, he spoke about energy, which has dominated both parties' addresses in recent weeks.

He stood by his argument that simply an increase in oil drilling is not enough to feed the nation's energy appetite -- although drilling, he pointed out, has increased in his administration.

The president said his vision for a clean energy future requires a rebuilding of transportation and communications infrastructure.

"So much of America needs to be rebuilt right now," he said. "We've got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy. An incomplete high-speed broadband network. And we've got thousands of unemployed construction workers who've been looking for a job ever since the housing market collapsed."

But Congress, and particularly the Republican-led House, is slowing progress, Obama said, including on a transportation bill that passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

The president heads this weekend to South Korea for the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, and energy provisions are expected to be considered on Capitol Hill.

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