November 29th, 2009
01:22 PM ET
4 years ago

Lugar: Senate should put off health care debate

Sen. Lugar said Sunday that the Senate should spend the remainder of 2009 focused on the Afghanistan war and budgetary matters.
Sen. Lugar said Sunday that the Senate should spend the remainder of 2009 focused on the Afghanistan war and budgetary matters.

Washington (CNN) – The Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that the Senate should set aside the impending debate on the health care reform bill and, instead, use the remainder of the year to focus on the appropriate strategy for the Afghanistan war, funding the war, and passing the appropriations bill necessary to keep the federal government running.

“I would just make this suggestion,” Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “that in the three weeks of debate we still have ahead of us, we really ought to concentrate in the Congress on the war, on the overall strategy of our country and the cost of it. And we ought to be on the budget - passing appropriations bills in a proper way. . . . We may wish to discuss higher taxes to pay for [the war]. But we're not going to do that debating health care in the Senate for three weeks through all sorts of strategies and so forth.”

“The war is terribly important,” Lugar continued, “Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change [aside] and talk now about the essentials: the war and money.”

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, disagreed with Lugar.

“Absolutely not,” Reed replied when asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether the Senate put off debate on the health care reform bill until 2010.

“I think we're in the midst of probably the most significant debate and conclusion with legislation that we've ever had,” Reed told King, “And the health care debate is essential to our economic future. There are - Businesses and individuals each year pay more and more for health care. It has become unaffordable. We have to go ahead and conclude this debate.

“To stop now would be stopping on the edge of, I think, significant reform, which is so important for the country. And frankly, it's ironic, there’s - under the Bush administration, there was no serious debate about Afghanistan. That was relegated to the sidelines. There was no attempt to pay for it. And suddenly, now, that becomes a critical need that we put aside health care. I don't think so.

I think we have to push forward. I think the president's speech [Tuesday about Afghanistan] will be appropriate. I think the strategy we'll analyze in the committees and I think we can go forward on both fronts and we have to.”

After months of deliberation, Obama is set to give a speech Tuesday evening that outlines his plans for the war in Afghanistan. Also this week, the full Senate is set to begin debate on a health care reform bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who managed to garner just enough votes to get the bill to the floor.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Dick Lugar • Health care • Jack Reed • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. health care now

    Hey Lugar –
    Health care is more important to me that Afghanistan. Why don't you and you GOP cronnies start doing something that supports the American people. Stop trying to run from the issue you coward.

    November 29, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Carole

    Of course he feels this way, he is a Republican.

    No Education, Health, Energy or Infrastructure repair, but plenty of WAR, WAR and more WAR.

    Republicans favor WAR over Health Care.

    November 29, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Frank

    Big surprise here.....a Repub wants to ignore 40 million Americans without health insurance.

    November 29, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Sure, jobs, the economy and Afghanistan are important – and so is health care reform!

    C'mon, Republicans, certainly you guys can handle more than one topic at a time – especially one that has been under consideration since January! You guys are paid big bucks and have tremendous responsibility to represent your constituents – DO YOUR FREAKIN' JOBS, FOR ONCE!

    November 29, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. gl, Pittsburgh

    Please tax the GOP and then see how important the war is too them.

    November 29, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. CNN afraid of a liberal post

    Of course they should.That way the republicans could harp and whine and pee and moan about it. AND wouldn't that be something to try to fault the Democrats on, with the 2010 elections. Republicans are boarding on criminal the way they are denying this country's citizens any type of respite from the mess bush put them in.

    November 29, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Lloyd Roberts, Jamaica NY

    Hey Senator Luger, if we ignore health care then Americans may not find out that you guys have one of the best health care plans known to man. No waiting periods, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, full health insurance for your self and your family for life when you retire. Hey, who would like to let that little secret out. Yeah, that's right. Let put it off for now, we have more important things to do. Yeah,Hope more Americans never know the truth about our plan, right socialism and all that. Whew, might have had to tell the truth if we kept talking about this health care thing.

    November 29, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. gl, Pittsburgh

    The war is terribly important,” Lugar continued, If the war is so important to the GOP why don't they go to afghan and fight the war themself.

    November 29, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Susan in NC

    More typical Republican't talk! Yada, yada, yada....................

    November 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    Why can't the GOP learn to walk and chew gum at the same time?

    November 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Paul C.

    With all due respect Sen. Lugar the U.S. has waited decades to join the developed world in providing universal health. The unfortunate fact is that we cannot afford to fight wars and provide health care. For some reason, the U.S. feels driven to start a war ever 10 years with no regard for necessity or cost. We can afford never ending war but health care is not in the budget.

    November 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Tammy

    Lugar and the rest of the Senate and Congress are well taken care of medically. What, me worry? The hell with the rest of you!

    November 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. jason, tx

    you mean the past 70 years oh so wasn't enough. some of these people are so stupid.

    November 29, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Julie

    Family's do not have enough money to put food on the table
    and congress is talking about higher taxes to support the war?
    I believe in our service men but you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.
    We the people can not afford to pay higher taxes at all period. You should be cutting taxes and support small business. There are NO JOBS!!!! Everyone should be ashamed of themselves our schools
    are in dis-repair and the Teachers ae focused on being politcally correct. What has happened to some of our Teachers for example,
    my grandaughter whom was in the 5th grade last yr. studied everynight for a week with her parents helping her and she still did not pass the test. Her teacher wrote on her test paper "I can see that you didn't study" He assumed didn't ask the right questions and berated her! Evidently this teacher's pay grade most be very low that is the only reason they hired him/her.. (They can't afford to pay for high level teachers in the South Euclid, OH area.
    Stop with the TAXES...and Paying off Banks/Wall Street/ is anyone
    in Washington capable of making a real honest Decision???
    WHAT ABOUT" FOR THE PEOPLE"," BY THE PEOPLE"
    OH! I get it whom ever puts money in your pocket you are for

    November 29, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Justin

    Typical Republican thinking.

    November 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Matt

    Yes, lets put off healthcare for another 40 years so we can keep the poor, poor, and the military industrial complex rich.

    November 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Jimmy James

    Congress and the President have wasted a year on this healthcare bill. If it passes it wont take affect till 2014 at the earliest yet the taxes are immediate. How about dealing with issues that need repair now like the economy and jobs. This healthcare bill will hamper both. Obama and the Democrats could have taken the reins for quite a while instead they will be voted out because they went for a socialized agenda instead of actually taking care of the immediate problems. I know, I know, Blame Bush. That excuse has run its course. You can blame him but when you do nothing to fix it you are as responsible if not more responsible. You know the problem but instead choose to ignore it and claim that the stimulus is working. Spin it however you want. The stimulus isn't helping with jobs even if you use their made up count.

    November 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Rose

    Good thinking Senator Lugar, the war and our Military are at stake here and that needs to come first. Everyday our young men are dying and without some kind of help. If Obama would get on the ball and stop his dithering this could have already been done. If he had a son in the Military he would understand what is at stake here and hold off on Health Care, but in this case his wishes come first, he said he would get health care passed this year and he has to safe face, forget our Military. Shame on Obama.

    November 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Joan

    The Bush administration turned its back on the war in Afghanistan and let it deteriorate under their watch and did absolutely nothing about helping millions of American people get affordable health care. It seems pretty hypocritical now that they have so many bright ideas and are so eager to criticize Pres. Obama who is at least attacking the issues in an intelligent manner. Instead of being the party of NO and constantly attacking everything he is trying to do, why don't they show that they can be team players and do what's best for the people and not worry so much about 2010 and 2012. Their true colours have been showing since Pres. Obama took office and should be a cause of concern for the electors.

    November 29, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Exactly right...............

    let Obamacare swing in the breeze for a while and then die a natural death.....

    November 29, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. disgustedindc

    Yes, because WAR is more important than the well-being of Americans. VILE REPUBLICAN MENTALITY AT ITS WORSE!

    November 29, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Nurse

    No , obama wants this , We need to spend money we don't have to get something we don't need , to give dems power forever. Oh and screw the middle class, cause thats who all this falls on . Thank you barry from me my childeren and their children and theirs .....

    November 29, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. D. Tree

    That's ridiculous. You don't put in this much work and come this far, only to give up and start over again!

    The longer we wait to reform Health Care, the more Americans DIE or go bankrupt because of lack of insurance – people's lives and livelihoods are at stake!

    November 29, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. W l Jones

    Ooh how soon the repubs forget the 1930s economic crash and waited for the poor people to die out out for lack of proper health care. Since computer is our mind and soul now I wish somebody would figure out how many men,women and childern died durning that time peroid.

    November 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. jim

    anything the republicans can dream up to slow down progress ...

    when will they just even try to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

    November 29, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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