June 28th, 2009
11:32 AM ET
13 years ago

'Quit spending,' Pawlenty tells Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Minnesota’s Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty took aim Sunday at the high price tag for President Obama’s ambitious plans to reform the nation’s health care system.

“The president said not long ago in an interview, quote-unquote, we are out of money,” Pawlenty told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King when asked whether the country could afford health care reform right now. “With all due respect Mr. President, if we’re out of money, quit spending it,” Pawlenty added.

“And, so no, we can’t afford it. This is a nation that has got a debt load and a deficit load that is unsustainable. We’re going to have, in my view, the federal government debt crisis equivalent of the mortgage crisis within 20 years.”

Pawlenty also said that he didn’t think the new administration was serious about addressing federal spending, notwithstanding the president’s recent emphasis on cleaning up the federal government’s fiscal situation.

The Republican also slammed a proposal favored by some Democrats for a public health insurance option as part of health care reform legislation.

“If you want to extend access, to people who are in need or at disadvantage, then give them some help directly – in the form of a voucher, in the form of a tax credit. And then give them good information about price and quality. And, at least for those who can function in the marketplace, let them go do that. That’s how you assist people in need who can’t afford health care.”

The public option contemplated by some Democrats is “another example of the partial … nationalization of an industry,” Pawlenty said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Not unlike in the mortgage industry, the banking industry, the auto industry, now the health care industry. Soon you’ll see that in the energy industry. This is a pattern with this administration of government encroaching into the private market.” Pawlenty said.

soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Jacob-WA

    Apparently no matter what Obama does in his administration its completely Bush's fault. Can't wait until the news stations stop giving him a free ride. That is If they ever stop reporting about Jackson's death

    June 28, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. MatthewDetroit

    President Geoge W. Bush added 5.5 Trillion to the National Debt.
    Barack boy is adding 10 trillion to the national debt in 4 years.
    The idiot is adding 2 trillion this year alone.

    June 28, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Chris

    Republicans are just mad that Democrats are doing the spending.

    If the Republicans were back in power they would spend as equally.

    The difference I see though is that at the least the Democrats are spending at home. When the Republicans were in power they ran up the debt spending overseas and on big corporations such as Halliburton.

    June 28, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Joanna in PA

    Unfortunately we need to spend money. We never asked for this. We need health care reform, we need better road ways, we need a greener environmental practice. All this will generate money in the long run, make us safer and more independent in the long run. The GOP is almost always on the wrong side of the issue. If it doesn't benefit the cooperate elite, they want no parts. Same as they have always been throughout our history.

    June 28, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    The republicans have always pushed for a good start on a solution to cutting health care cost. it is called TORT REFORM! When I lived in New York (Up State N.Y., the real N.Y.) in 1985 a local report made the mistake of covering an issue of medical cost and made the statement that 1/3 of your medical bill was to pay for malpractice insurance to protect the doctors and hospitals form the lawyers. The democrats will not go for Tort Reform because it will take cash out of their lawyer special interest groups, thus out of their campaign money. As a paramedic in 1978 the companies I interviewed with were paying $10,000.00 a year for each paramedic to ride the ambulance and the hospital my mother worked at as a nurse was paying $10,000.00 for each nurse. Who do you think is paying for this? You and I! With Tort Reform we also need the insurance companies to cut their malpractice rates and then the medical profesion can cut their rates. My Aunt who is a retired civil servant has government medical through Blue Cross and Blue Shield not the HMO I have for my military retirement. For a government plan it should be an HMO like the military has had since the Clinton Administration. Why should civilians get a better program than those in uniform and their families.

    June 28, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Bridgette

    I hope we do get a public option because if people know they can get quality care and not have to file bankruptcy in order to pay for it this will force insurance companies and hospitals to stop charging $50 for a Tyleno pill in the hospital. It will force the hospital to stop sening you a bill from each depatment in the hospital and have one understandable and reasonable bill. See they are not going to charge you a million dollars for something that could have been $2000 because they know that the government will be all over them. This will force the insurance companies to bring down their cost and people will be able to afford health care again.

    Why is it that anything that can help the American people the Republicans are agianst it. Anything that will allow the average American to get their head above water and take some of the pressure off the Republicans are against it. These patriotic America loving people are against everything that will help and benefit the people. I don't see how anyone that is not rich regardless of their color or background vote for these people that hate them so much.

    June 28, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. how quickly they forget

    I would have a lot more respect for Pawlenty, McCain, and other so-called fiscal-conservatives if they had EVER stood up to GWB and told HIM to stop spending money we don't have.

    Repubs love spending money – as long as it's for wars.

    June 28, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. ThinkAboutIt

    This has been the Republican strategy for a long time: Build up huge deficits by cutting taxes for the wealthy, spending huge amounts on the military and letting the financial system run amok and then bailing them out:

    Reagan tax cuts for the wealthy + huge military buildup + S&L bailout
    Bush tax cuts for the wealthy + 2 wars + AIG, etc. bailouts

    After the Republicans have created all these deficits, they cry foul when government wants to spend money on infrastructure (roads, bridges, investing in renewable energy) and the middle class (tax cuts, education, health care).

    What is the goal of this strategy? To eliminate social programs, consolidate the wealth of our country in the hands of the top 1%, and create a dog-eat-dog society where only those with money and power enjoy prosperity – and to hell with the rest of us.

    If you don't believe me, I'd like to refer you to the writings of Grover Norquist of the American Spectator magazine and other Neocon architects (with Karl Rove as their strategy pointman) – they have all been very explicit in stating their goals.

    Norquist wants to "wants to shrink government down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." And send us all down the drain ...

    June 28, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. gl, Pittsburgh

    I hope everyone caught the CBO's report in NYT The caucus..that said our federal debt has nothing to do with Obama or his plans rather it is the past 8 yrs and the unsustainable health care costs..get your facts together



    June 28, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. makesUwonder

    TCM June 28th, 2009 12:03 pm ET

    Obama's plan is to run the country into the ground, and then all will be at his beck and call; tyranny…..he's all about power and control. It's not going to surprise me when the riots and government revolts start in this country. Democrats and repubs who voted for the stim pkg, climate bill and are planning on spending on the health bill should really look around;people aren't liking their reckless ways….and there will be a price to pay if they continue…IRan's people are an indicator of when "enough's enough….."
    I'm at a point now I can't wait until the "government revolts" get started. I've had enough as well as millions of other Americans. Count me in!!!!

    June 28, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. virginia for obama

    John King,. . . Please ask some challenging questions like you do the DEMS. What about the election of Franken/Coleman? All you do is talk to republicans all the time. That's why I can't stand your rightwing show.

    June 28, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. here we go

    If people don't think anything has to be done with health care, how about $70 just to sign in at a dr's office, and another $150 for the dr to see you, and that is graded according to your age.. How about "1" blood test to the tune of $355, fortunately we have insurance. Just to have a test for lipid profile is around $200, is something wrong.. The dr and labs will charge what the insurance companies will pay, and it is the same for dental work, it is becoming obscene, and still this debate goes on, give the American ppl what senators and congressmen get, after all we pay for it...end of discussion, so simple but "WE" the american ppl have to continue with continued blickering while they enjoy the fruits of "OUR" labor with good health insurance.

    June 28, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Dennis

    He apparently, as with most GOPers, is aghast at the idea that something should be done to bring down costs. No, just give everybody health vouchers or tax credits to pay for their exorbitant health costs because, obviously, vouchers and tax credits don't cost anything. Their bottom line is don't mess with the extreme profits of pharmaceuticals and the rest of the medical industry or those fat envelopes of "campaign contribution" cash will stop showing up. The republicans still don't seem to understand they caused these problems and they DO NOT get to complain about what has to be done to correct them!

    June 28, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Tim Pawlenty is still sore that Palin got chosen instead of himself.

    Pawlenty was loyal to McCain and he got the shaft.

    Poor Tim. Grumpy.

    June 28, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Sheila

    Some of you folks are paethetic and obvioiusly care about picking a party / team over the best interests of this country. Politicians and their spending is rediculous on both sides. Read that people? Republicans have spent a fortune and now Democrats are taking it to whole other levels. That does NOT make either of the right but it does make all of us taxpayers the losers in this situation. Wake the heck up you idiots.

    June 28, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. scott

    Is someone looking to be a front runner in the next election. Step up and then look at the past front runners and what they did to lose that title. Let this current president run the counrty as he was elected. If I recall the past president left us in this hole and all Obama is trying to do is fix what Bush broke. Gov Pawlentey should try and fix whats broken in his back yard. Don't you just have one senator working for your state. Maybe you should ask Coleman to step aside. Oh thats right then the DEM would have control. Got to love the GOP and the right for trying to throw a wrench into thw works to prevent work that is long over due ie healhcare reform, medicare and social security reform. I guess having 2 wars isn't wasteful spending, huh Pawlentey ? Stop positioning yourself as a front runner and do what you were elected to do and run your state. And do us a favor and get you buddy Palin and stick a sock in her trap.

    your neighbor to the east ( thats Wisconsin )

    June 28, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. jodipo

    As a lifelong Minnesotan, I would like to say

    SHUT UP Pawlenty. He ran our state into the ground! He is a HORRIBLE Governor, and that is why he decided not to run for reelection, because he KNEW he would be slaughtered by anyone the opposition decided to run!


    June 28, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. MH

    Pawlenty is full of empty fear BS!!

    June 28, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. gl, Pittsburgh

    I have one question for those who ask "should we really be moving towards a Canadian or British health care system." Well how about moving towards an "Canadian/British/German/Spanish/French/Dutch/Sweedish/Japanese/Austrailian/Finish, etc health care system?" Why is the US so far behind in this regard?

    June 28, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Andi

    I don't remember any gov speaking to Bush this way.

    I'd like to tell Pawleny 'quit whining'

    June 28, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. Rick

    And this from a man whose own state can't even seat the winjner of the 2008 election to the Senate? Who gives a fig what this flake has to say about anything. Anyone who can't see we are in crisis and in meltdown over healthcare and whose best advice is to quit spending has all the credibility of a pebble in a stream of effluent. Just one more incredibly stupid voice from the party of NO,

    June 28, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. ATR

    Where were the supposed fiscally conservative republicans when George Bush ran up the deficit to fund wars in Iraq and Afganistan off the books. Not a peep out of them. Now these same folks object to plans to get health care reform. I ask, do the republicans hate America so much that they are only willing to go into debt to wage wars and fund the rebuilding of other countries?

    June 28, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Walter

    This won't stop because it is too easy to spend other people's money (OPM) when you can us the IRS to throw them in jail if they don't cooperate.

    What I don't understand is why we don't try the following first?:

    1) we don't try making health care expense 100% deductilble above the line (you CPA's know what I am talking about)

    2) Have everyone with who pays for healthcare private and employer provided (employer provided is actually part of your pay if you don't know that by now) .......take $5,000 of your pay and buy your neighbor health coverage for a year.

    This is essentially what is being done with the national program. If you are ok with giving AT LEAST an additional $5,000 to pay for other peoples health (which you have absolutely no control over how they live, lifestyle, smoker, promiscuous, than by all means write your congressperson and have them support the Obama plan.

    Personally, I prefer to help others by CHOICE. Helping others by CHOICE would be a welcomed CHANGE I CAN BELIEVE IN.

    June 28, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Misty

    Oh! Poor Republicans!

    They see only themselves spending money-
    2 wars Halliburton, NO SEX education- Mr. Sanford's South America trip to see his mistress, Palin taking her brood everywhere, makeup, tanning and high heel shoes– let me think!

    SHUT UP!!!!

    June 28, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Robert Kozma

    Of course, what Pawlenty and the Republicans ignore is the fact that the private, unregulated market failed miserably under the GOP Administration and Congress to address the needs of Americans–our banking system failed, our auto industry failed, our health care system is failing, our energy system is failing. We are still reeling from their failed policies. We need action, not GOP negativity and ideological assurances that the private market will ultimately take care of everything.

    June 28, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8