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. henry

    No, we should not put off health care reform. It will then never pass

    November 29, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. gary davis harbor oregon

    when dicky Lugar puts his personal health care on hold so shall we . but until he does then we won't .. simple logic.. AFGHANISTAN is a lawless land of drug barons and war lords . using this battle with radical idiots ,to profit and rape and pillage over there own people .
    so Lugar needs to check his priorities . Bush cheney got us into this mess and this administration has the job to end the idiotic fighting in AFGHANISTAN and any other region that is in the same mess..
    move out of the region and block the borders on every trail and road way . check points . to keep bombs and anything used to blow things up out and the drugs kept in the country . it wont take long for the warlords and thugs to fold and ask for help. no money no food means .they will stop .
    that simple . with out all the arguing and debating all over the world from intellegant people with differant ideas on how to deal with AFGHANISTAN .or any other problem. that kilss people over stupid selfish greedy worthless bottom feeders . :)

    November 29, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Lugar and cohorts have no shame nor respect for the citizens of this country. Letting healthcare wait is another ploy to defeat the plan. Don't let them get away with it, Democrats.

    November 29, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. The Great Northwest

    Dicky Lugar you setting in your easy chair opening up your pie hole with the best Goverment Health Insurance telling the rest of the world they don't need Health care .
    What you need is voted out of your easy chair .

    November 29, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Joyce Becker

    If the Republicans have their way there never would be a right time for Health care debate, they were against Social Security, Medicare so why should Health care be any different. They are the party of NO, NO, NO help for the people, just let the big HMO's run Heath care and make sure they get their part of the profits.

    November 29, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. VON BISMARK -Vienna

    Of course this is more important than keeping Americans healthy.What an irony! When will these war hawks go away?

    November 29, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Chris

    And a few weeks later the Republicans would come up with another reason why to delay Health Care Reform. And then a few weeks after that, another reason for delay, and then another.

    Delay, Distract, & Disparage. That's all Republicans know how to do.

    November 29, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Coherent1

    Not surprised that you would be all for focusing on the war and it's budget as opposed to the health and welfare of the American people. Sure.....drop health care with the hopes of alleviating it completely and let's bomb bomb bomb another country! Evil warmongerers.

    November 29, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. not alone

    Typical Rupulican manuver,delay and it will go away.

    November 29, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. strong

    Health care debates - continuous, nauseating "debates" are making people sick! All for what?

    No wonder people are apathetic.

    November 29, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. howie

    Lugar is finally making sense, why debate three weeks on a bill that is not going to pass. We need to focus on JOBS,JOBS,JOBS.

    November 29, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Marry

    The GOP should just shut up!! They did not do anything for the American people – only for their own pockets. Those times are over! The president has a very good agenda for the country – and from the party of “NO” comes no input to make things better. Anybody who would think they know anything that will benefit the country needs their heads and hearts examined.

    November 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    “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.”

    You cons are funny, NOW is the time to worry about the wars you clowns started?? I do agree it is way past time to institute that "war tax" on each and every one us to help make up for the economic mess the shrub and the dick left this country in and kept off the books, because "deficits did not matter in time of war" about 5 trillion dollars worth of insignificance.

    You want the "socialist' and his "socialism" ways to take over government and create jobs??

    Now that it has been shown that Rumsfeld and Franks missed a chance to get bin Laden in 2001, guess that is why McCain said in the campaign he knew where bin Laden was. Too bad the republiklans missed THEIR chance to catch him like they all like to blame Clinton.
    That whole "he kept us safe for 7 years" mantra is now off the table.

    The only thing transparent about you "christian" cons and republiklans, is your lies and hypocrisy!

    And still this great country awaits for your apology!

    November 29, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    Does Senator Lugar know reforming our health care has everything to do with the recovery of our economy? When people feel more hopeful about their future, they tend to open their wallet more often. When small businesses can afford health care benefits, the optimism spreads out like fire through the veins of our nation.

    Health Care Reform = Economic Recovery

    Public Option = enlarge our Middle Class = Strengthen our Democracy

    Senator Lugar needs to listen to Senator Reed's and my "Absolutely not!" Thanks!

    November 29, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. valwayne

    10.2% UNEMPLOYMENT, Trillions upon Trillions in corrupt spending and debt, and Obama and the Democrats want to pass another corrupt bill that will drive us trillions and trillions more into debt. Its crazy! This madness should be shelved until the economy is more stable and millions of people are back at work. Obama and the Democrats are destroying our economy!

    November 29, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. quarterback

    How much money does he get from insurance or health care companies?

    We can't do more than one thing at a time?

    America won two world wars. We can do anything IF WE WORK TOGETHER AND STOP ALL THIS HATRED.

    November 29, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. ib

    Amen to that Luger; couldn't have said it better myself. Another trillion dollar program is the last thing this country needs now even though we do need health care reform not health care takeover.

    November 29, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Emma

    Many of us do not agree with Lugar. Both the war and health care reform are critical issues

    November 29, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Preston

    It sounds like Sen. Lugar, after his many years in the Senate, still can't figure out how to walk and chew gum. Is this just another false either-or choice from the Republicans, or are they really so limited they can't figure out how to more than one or two things at a time?

    November 29, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Dean in PA

    Of course.... find any issue to derail a drastically-needed reform of our health care system. He can, of course, wait till hell freezes over for the reform since he the very best health insurance in the world (while tens of thousands of Americans have NONE). Yeah, Lugar. You have the best interest of Americans in mind. Right. Sure you do....

    November 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. No more war

    Great. Line the defence contractors and arms manufacturers pockets in pursuit of a fool's errand six thousand miles from home instead of taking care of Americans who are in great need. I really thought Obama would end this immoral BS and I am astonished that he is prepared to basically seal his fate as a one-term president to appease his generals. Change you can believe in – sorry, not any more – unless he brings back the draft and introduces a war tax – otherwise, whats 's new about this?

    November 29, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Another Reformed Republican

    Did anyone take a look at Lugar? He looks like another old white haired angry Republican geezer. Haven't we listened to enough rehashing of the old failed Republican policies of the past?

    November 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. B

    What is wrong with these people?????
    The majority of Americans want this health care done NOW and consider it more important than the war in Afghanistan, which was put aside by Bush for years!!

    November 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. Jack

    How ironic that leading republicans want to again put off the debate on Health Care for another 75 years or so while we concentrate on a war that they fumbled so badly.

    With a membership of around 20% or so, the republican party should not even be given news headlines.

    November 29, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. They call me "tater salad"

    Yeah.........Let's put off anything important to society as a whole indefinitely and focus our time and energy on the only thing the Republicans really care about........WAR AND MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Isn't that pretty much what they've been doing since 1994 when they gained control of both houses of Congress?

    November 29, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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