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. GOPer

    Does the revolution include secessionists, hanging effigies, defacing public/private property, unruly outbursts, and other fringe elements these GOPers have ALREADY imposed on us?! Give me a break.

    The so-called Republican "leaders" have No intention on voting for any health care for the American people. It is more than obvious now. They have been exposed for their LIES and corporate greed these GOPers represent in the insurance lobby. Shameful.

    Without further delay, America deserves health-care reforms and will support those representatives with the courage to pass it.

    September 1, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Jeremy

    Lets play out the public option to its inevitable conclusion: public option becomes available; millions of Americans voluntarily or are forced to enroll in public option; Federal government mismanages program (as usual); public option becomes insolvent; Federal government raise taxes on all citizens, thereby forcing those with private plans to also fund those with public plan...

    Do the Medicare and Social Security programs ring a bell, people?

    September 1, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Stephen

    Isn't that treason? Just checking.

    September 1, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. LW In Texas

    The fact not spin,
    No one is saying free healthcare, yes it will have to be paid for some way either taxes on the very rich, or on big business. But folks if we do not get healthcare under control we will never get out of debt, as a nation we spend way to much on healthcare. The middle class has only some much money to spend with healthcare cost going up about 9 to 10 percent a year and wages at about 2percent. The middle class has to come up with that 7 or 8 percent so way, so they do not buy new cars, new clothes, new washers and dryers, they do not save and sooner then later the middle class is gone because no one can buy anything because all the money goes to healthcare.

    September 1, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Reagan was wrong

    When the dim-witted GOP base hears the word "revolution", they think of the violent kind of revolution, not the procedural kind that (I hope) Sen. Alexander is talking about.

    It's not a good idea to be filling these simple minds with these violent terms.

    September 1, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Jay T.

    Didn't these same hillbillies already lose the Civil War? Or, maybe it was their ancestors. So, yeah, we are about as intimidated as the Philadelphia Phillies are of the Tampa Bay Rays.

    September 1, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Big Ed

    Well, it's past time for the Republicans to stand up and come to the table. Since they have absolutely nothing to offer other than getting in the way, do your job and help the citizens of this nation. Stop looking after yourselves and your giant corporate buddies, or the Republican Party could fall ever deeper into irrelevence!

    September 1, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. pt

    CNN, we the people can handle a more indepth piece of journalism.
    Sandlot people (we won/you don't count), people voted for Carter the first but not the second time. Carter made his successor look so good. This can happen with Obama as well.

    September 1, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Typical liberal responses on this blog, showing that none have even read summaries of the bills.

    Hey libs, do you think for yourself in any area of your life, or do you simply read the slogans and join in the chant?

    September 1, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. W. Axl Rose

    I'm just glad Obambi is failing.

    September 1, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Mississippi Mike

    Why not a major revolution? We pay so much in taxes yet our country runs a deficit every year. I've got a 10 year plan to get rid of my credit card debt and student loans, why does my government have a plan that will saddle me and my posterity to an eternally growing debt? We need real change, not more socialism, I'm talking about a government that uses our money like it was their own, not as a play thing.

    September 1, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Why is Senator Alexander complaining that the White House has cut Republicans out of talks?

    What is he talking about?!?!

    The Democratic Super-Majority Senate inexplicably gave Republican Senators – including Grassley and Enzi – three out of six seats at the negotiating table.

    Since then, Grassley has gone around telling Americans that they are right to be afraid of the government pulling the plug on grandma (NONSENSE) and Enzi said last Saturday that health care reforms will "make our nation's finances sicker without saving you money," will "raid Medicare," and will intrude "in the relationship between a doctor and a patient" (ALL TOTAL NONSENSE!).

    Our Democratic President and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate know what the country needs to fix the breaking health care system, and it's not wasting time trying to negotiate with people like you.

    September 1, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. T Mckinley

    "The intensity on this issue is like nothing I've seen in a long, long time."

    Gee, Senator...you wouldn't happen to be talking about the intense Republican opposition to Medicare and Medicaid when LBJ was President back in the 60's, would you?

    September 1, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Peggy - TX

    He is correct, overhauling heath care without support from the Party of NO could indeed “wreck the Democratic Party"; nevertheless, that is exactly what has to be done. If Democrats do not pass a bill, or pass a bill that is essentially Romney care, they also will destroy the party.

    Our founding fathers correctely belived that 50+ persent should carry each house of congress. Do away with the process that requires 60%+, create the best bill possible, then take a stand because some things are worth dying for or in this case staking ones political career on.

    As President Clinton said, the American people will love the results and respect the Democrats for it.

    September 1, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Kat

    I wonder what their first clue was??? Hello, Americans do not want the government involved in anything else? The dems know that if they pass this health care reform bill, that they are gone in 2010. It is as simple as that. Take a look at the President's approval rating...it is tanking. But, of course, you do not see CNN report on that.

    September 1, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Rob Johnson

    As much as I disagree with the GOP on this issue, Alexander does have a point. The incredibly polarized political climate in the country right now doesn't benefit anybody, and a cooling off period would help.

    The Democrats could pass the greatest health care reform package ever seen, and the GOP would still be frothing at the mouth about "socialized medicine" and "death panels" and so forth.

    I know that some people would consider it a catastrophic defeat, but the Democrats might be wise to back off for now. They should spend some time educating the American people and making a stronger case for their version of health care reform, then come back to Congress next year with a better bill.

    September 1, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. pam Eugene OR

    It is heart warming to see how little the support for the "tea parties" is. Loud mouth radio jocks are trying to get the liars out there in force to attempt to stop any reform of health care.
    The only thing the Republicans are sure of is that if it good for the American people and bad for the Insurance companies and drug makers then they are against it.
    The want zero reform to health care as long as their pockets are filled by those opposing reform. They have no plan other than to lie, cheat, and steal what is best for people.

    September 1, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Were white, and were old,but these guys even scare us.

    September 1, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Danny in Chicago

    Bring on the revolution. Democrats try to avoid the useless fearmongering, hence why republicans call them weak, but what they dont realize is that democrats WILL fight if cornered.....

    This is not the same Democratic Party of the Clinton years.

    Oh, and we have the numbers on you republicans – I know you dont think so, but we had this thing called an election where we had millions of more people than you – bring it on...

    September 1, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. MCD, SF, CA

    Did anybody tell this guy that the approval rating of the republican party is sitting at 34% and has been for months?!:?!

    I think he needs to start worrying about his own party rather than the Dems!

    September 1, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Flagship, NC

    AS SAID:
    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.

    THEY HAVE NO PLAN TO HELP. WE DO NOT NEED THEM.

    September 1, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Dyan

    I'm an American, and I'm scared. I'm scared that I'll have a healh issue that will mean that I can't work and that I'll lose my insurance. I'm scared that if that happens, then I'll be labeled with a pre-existing condition and won't be able to get insurance. I'm scared that once again Republican and Blue Dog Democrats will put corporate interests ahead of mine.

    Yeah, I'm scared alright. And there is likely to be a minor revolution over health care. I just wonder if the Senator from Tennesse knows that he's on the wrong side.

    September 1, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. April in Texas

    Same old stuff from republicans.... They seem to only be able to say NO and spread lies to fuel the flames for thier agenda to make the rich even more wealthy and the poor to be as broke as they can be. I am not on medicaid nor old enough for medicare. I can not afford health care because of pre-conditions. We need health care reform NOW and since the republicans won't even attempt to reach a bipartisian bill, as a constiuant and american citizen the democrats NEED to go at this alone and pass health care reform for the american people.

    September 1, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. single mom

    I was scared about Obama being president before he'd even won the Democratic nomination. I researched his background, read his books and checked out those nearest him and Michele.
    I shocked a number of people by saying I'd rather have Hilary as President. Now a number of them are coming to me and saying I was right.
    Honestly, I'd rather have been wrong.

    September 1, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Proud Member..Party of No

    Three words can describe Obama: Worst President Ever.

    September 1, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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