WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Republican said Friday that lawmakers should not fear voter backlash for trying to pluck savings from Medicare as part of a debt-reduction effort because it will take a bipartisan accord to tackle the popular program.

The remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were noteworthy because they came three days after a Democrat won a special House election in a heavily Republican district in upstate New York after accusing the GOP of wanting to kill Medicare.

Many Democrats have made clear that they intend to stick with that theme when they try to recapture the House and defend their slim Senate majority in next year's elections.

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