September 1st, 2009
07:40 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP senator warns of 'minor revolution' over health care

Sen. Alexander warned Tuesday against Democratic attempts to overhaul the nation's health care system without support from congressional Republicans.
Sen. Alexander warned Tuesday against Democratic attempts to overhaul the nation's health care system without support from congressional Republicans.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A top Republican senator warned Tuesday that if Democrats try to overhaul health care without Republican support, "it will wreck our health care system and wreck the Democratic Party."

"The intensity on this issue across the country is like nothing I"ve seen in a long, long time," said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate.

After a month of town halls back home, Alexander said it's clear to him and other Republicans that Americans are "scared to death" about the sweeping policy changes coming from Washington this year and the massive debt they are creating.

Alexander warned there would be "a minor revolution in this country" if Democrats try to "ram" a health care overhaul using a legislative tool called reconciliation, which would allow a bill to pass with 50 votes instead of 60.

Alexander also complained the White House has cut Republicans out of talks.

"Either they don't know how to operate in a bipartisan way or they don't want to operate in a bipartisan way," he said.

As to the ongoing talks among the bipartisan Gang of Six senators on the Finance Committee, Alexander said he is confident voter angst is resonating with the GOP members of the negotiations.

He also predicted the three Republican senators won't sign onto a deal unless "they think they have substantial support" for it from other Republican senators.


Filed under: Congress • Extra • Health care • Lamar Alexander • Popular Posts
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    First Senator Corker (R-TN) calls the hypocrite and all-around-sleaze ball John Ensign a "stand-up" guy and now Senator Alexander (R-TN) uses thinly veiled scare tactics and threats to derail necessary health care reform and to give support to people who call themselves "proud right-wing terrorists."

    What a disgrace.

    "Either they [Democratic Party leaders] don't know how to operate in a bipartisan way or they don't want to operate in a bipartisan way," you say? Sounds like you're describing yourself and your Republican buddies exactly, Senator.

    These so-called leaders of the Republican Party are as shameless as they are reckless.

    September 1, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. whats with cnn

    Cnn really does a disservice to true Journalism when all of its political reports are based on he said, she said, anecdotes, with no attempt to uncover the truth.
    Get more investigative journalists and less commentators!

    September 1, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Jimmy the Greek

    In 8 months the presidents' approval rating has dropped from a 65% to below 45%.

    But yall keep blaming Bush and the GOP.

    Conservatives NEED you liberals to continue denying reality and not change your ways – otherwise you may stop the political hemeraging and possibly prevent the repeat of 1994 mid-term elections.

    KEEP BLAMING BUSH!!!

    September 1, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    Minor revolution from those of minor mental ability. They never planned to and never will give any support to a program that helps the middle and/or lower class at the "perceived" cost to the corporate Republican supporters.

    BTW McDonnell & Cuccinelli (of Va) are part of the US Taliban. Their heros are the religious radicals – which includes Pat Robertson and James Dobeson as grand lizards – hoods and all.
    The sunlight is shining on the troglodites, watch 'em squirm!

    September 1, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Ken, AZ

    Empty threats. In a true democracy, only 51 votes of 100 are needed for a majority. Where did republicans ever get the notion that now 60 votes are needed for a majority?

    September 1, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. S M R

    What are they going to do, feed the hillbillies moonshine and send them to battle?

    September 1, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. S M R

    That CLOWN looks like he could use a drink.

    September 1, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Carole

    The Republicans did 'nothing' for eight, count 'em 8 years about health care. All they say is NO, NO and NO. They only spend money on wars.

    Forget about the Republicans.............let's roll.

    Tell this Senator to give up HIS health care that WE pay for.

    September 1, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. ck

    WAKE UP AMERICA!

    You can hate Bush, you can hate Cheney all you want. But dont cut off your nose to spite your face.

    Just because Obama is not a Republican does not mean he and his team are doing what is right for this country.

    We are headed down a dangerous road. Pay attention and stay informed!

    September 1, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. lmm010

    Me..thinks..he..doth..protest..too..much!

    So,..we..are..obviously..moving..in..the..right..direction!

    September 1, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Aren't you up for reelection in 2010, Senator Alexander?

    The people of Tennessee should stage their own minor revolution in 14 months and elect someone else.

    September 1, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Lisa P

    I think the Senator misjudges the situation. It's the Republicans who need to either start talking or get out of the way. The juggernaut is pro-reform and is getting to the point where it doesn't much care if it has to roll right over the GOP to get there.

    Personally I hope we make it all the way to single payer - if we do we'll be able to thank the Republican obstructionists for making compromise and half-reform impossible. It will be Medicare all over again, but this time for everybody.

    September 1, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. ED

    Absolutely correct !!!!! THIS time we won't shut up !!!!!!!!!!

    September 1, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. S M R

    Here is what this guys is thinking: I can believe Rush is making me say this.

    September 1, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Reformed Republican

    Just like a rethuglican – Threaten people with the end of the world if they don't do what they say.

    In my neighborhood that's called "extortion". And their hoodlum bosses are big pharma and big health insurance.

    WAKE UP AMERICANS – THESE GOP'ers ARE NOTHING BUT THE POLITICAL STREET THUGS FOR BIG INSURANCE AND THE PHARMA INDUSTRIES!

    September 1, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. Moonbeam

    Republicans could not care less if this country has or ever will have quality, affordable and accessible health care! They are just using it as a wedge issue in attempt to destroy Obama's presidency!
    If it would not be for health care package, they would, undoubtedly, find something else. Or invent something else, like "birthers".
    GOP not only lost it collective soul, it is becoming a party of criminals!

    i am all for a revolution, against Republicans, that's it!

    September 1, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    The Democrats have already paid a huge price in public opinion by ramming through the Stimulus bill. People still on board with that piece of work are few and far between. Joe Biden," We underestimated what was happening with the unemployment picture."

    September 1, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Doraine Gordon

    True Americans aren't scared of any garbage being put out by the Republican Party. We all know that the Republicans are in the back pocket of the health insurance companies. All you people are capable of is scaring the American people into doing it your way. You all stand up and tell lies and spread fear like it's going out of style. You Repblicans make me sick!!

    September 1, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. eolufemi

    Every black person in America saw this coming...

    September 1, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Bring it on

    Go ahead – we already know you GOPs are revolting :)

    Seriously, dude, we are in the majority, not you. Get over it.

    September 1, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Jim in Indiana

    If the republicans want a minor revolution then in the words of a former President "bring it on". If you can't win without lying you can't win.

    September 1, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. AJ

    Interesting. Did Alexander have any such objection when the republicans were threatening to change the rules so they could stack the court? As it turned out, no such threat was necessary as the Dems in their usual cowardly way allowed it to happen without such measures. Hopefully the Democratic congress will show more backbone this time and pass healthcare reform without the help of republicans. Any bets on whether the Dems will turn tail and run?

    September 1, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. patrick bowman

    Such hypocracy – why have we not heard any SPECIFICS [other than 'NO'] of a Republican Healthcare Plan??? They have no spirit of bipartisanship. This is like the Republican Budget that had no numbers in it, remember that?! They seem incapable of any attempt to find common ground – just a lot of hot air!

    September 1, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. Marc L

    Liberals are like little children. For a while, everybody listens to them and thinks "their words are so pure and truthful". Then, after a while, that purity and cuteness wears off once reality sets in. You see, the thing with the way children think is that while they seem so innocent, they don't have the ability to look a couple of steps ahead. They are not able to comprehend the complexities of a situation. So, liberals, enjoy your time in the sun. Enjoy your Republican bashing and silly name calling. Pretty soon the adults are going to take over the playground again and it is back to the corner for you.

    September 1, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. tjaman

    I am not remotely afraid of this man and his dire warnings. Go frighten children.

    September 1, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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