September 1st, 2009
07:40 PM ET
11 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. chris

    And I wonder who scared them? and who's scared? yea... mostly old and white people – none of which voted for Change anyway. Public OPTION is nothing more than an OPTION like Public Education, Medicare, Social Security... its far from "Socialism"

    September 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Emmanuel Goldstein

    Uh oh, he used the "r" word. Now all the "progressives" will be screaming "treason" (I will presumed they failed the bar exam), even though Alexander is a well-respected and accomplished senator, and is trying to encourage bipartisanship. Personally, I believe we shouldn't settle for "minor" but have it out.

    September 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Vets4Obama

    "GOP senator warns of 'minor revolution' over health care"

    That's because the GOP is a "minor' party. The rest of this country is practicing their christian belief, and in favor of helping out those in need, not just a select few. See, we want EVERYONE to have a BILL OF RIGHTS...not just one segment of this country.

    So let's have a bill of rights for AMERICA...not just seniors. I imagine all those grandparents would want their children and grandchildren treated with RIGHTS as well. Ya think? As a veteran and a senior, I sure do want the rest of my countrymen to have rights.

    That's why I refuse any and all republican ideas, they always suck and are a leech off of most of america to support a select special interest few.

    September 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. Moderate Democrat

    BRING IT ON republicans! We WILL get health reform passed, even if it takes two times (once to identify the no's, vote them out, and the second time to get it passed).

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

    What a hypocrite. People are scared to death because the fearmongers in the Republican party are working hard to generate fear by spreading lies - death panels, discrimination by party affiliation, and worse. He complains about the lack of bipartisanship, but the Republicans have clearly decided to block any and all meaningful reform. For their to be cooperation there has to be genuine discussion, not across the board rejection and demonization of every change of the status quo. They even reject ideas that, very recently, they themselves proposed. It's clear they have chosen Jim DeMint as their standard bearer, and want Obama and health care to fail, regardless of the cost to the country or of doing what's right. Meanwhile, Americans spend more for lower quality care than in any other western nation. They're pathetic.

    September 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. rjd

    The Republicans have cut THEMSELVES out of talks. Americans voted overwhelmingly for Obama who campaigned on the promise of health care reform. Just because the opposers are loud doesn't mean they're the majority. We need to see this through and not back down!

    September 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Alexander

    Voter angst? What voters? To me it's going to be a 'minor revolution' if health care reform is not passed. Americans are going to revolt, take on the streets, and Republicans will be the ones who are going to be blamed.

    September 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Obama supporter

    I think he over estimates the importance of the Republican Party. My opinion. They are in the minority. They are very noisy but in the minority and there are only about 25% zealots.

    September 1, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. pat c

    i am so sick of the moran republicans saying AMERICA is sick an scared of obama's health care when in fact: if the republican boogy men would shut their evil mouths an teach the uneducated white folk what obama is trying to do for us we AMERICANS would be singing our presidents praises. it is not all americans out here afraid, only the ones that listen to lies and FOX news to get their education on this bill.
    wake up people and think for yourselves, don't be blinded by what glen beck,palin hannity and the other racist want you to believe!
    i am a white senior citizen with medical insurance and i can't wait for president obama to take away some of the rediculous cost of my premiums.

    September 1, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Steve in Kentucky

    Actually, once health reform is done - without a single Republican vote - the Dems will get all the credit, as they should. This will be similar for the credit the Democrats got for the New Deal boosting the party's image for decades afterward.

    It's the Republicans who will be destroyed once Americans sit back and see this for what it is.

    But unlike Lamar and his concern for the future of the Democratic party, I don't care a whit about the future of the Republicans. I hope it curls up and dies.

    September 1, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Joan

    Watching the health care debate in your country is like watching a reality show. On one side you have people who want to help out the underprivileged, get them some health care and overhaul a clearly bloated system. On the other side you have people who pretend to be Christians but who care only about themselves, will say and do anything to get their way and who want your President, and therefore your country, to fail. It has been very enlightening for the rest of us to watch but it is also kind of disturbing.

    September 1, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Joyce in South Carolina

    "a minor revolution in this country" ............. that is caused by the Republicans inciting fear, by their lies and distortion of the truth. The Republicans do not care about average people. I hope the democrats do try to overhaul healthcare without the Republicans. We desperately need the public option to give the insurance companies something to compete with.

    September 1, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. chuck

    We already had a minor revolution last November and the people of this country spoke loud and clear Lamar.

    September 1, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Leonard

    GOP are just sore losers that scream loud and say nothing.
    Stop with the revolution and Texas sucession talk. You sound real stupid. Really.

    September 1, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Jake

    but the Republicans have already wrecked healthcare, but not doing anything...and the Republican party is already WRECKED.. so who cares what you think?

    September 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Southern Gentleman

    Who cares what the portion of the population who did not vote for obama are complaining about. Obama won, therefore, to take what people who did not vote for him are complaining about is useless. These voices do not support the majority of Americans.

    September 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Face reader

    Yeeha,by the look on their faces,they just got dugup from civil war graves.A bunch of southern bagboys.

    September 1, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Farrell in Houston

    It is clear to me the big insurance companies and their lobbyist are winning and the GOP will get a payoff. Has anyone asked the big insurance companies not to raise their rates, of course not and they will not tell you that, they'll just raise them without your approval. The GOP, big insurance companies and it's followers are just playing you.

    September 1, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Willy Brown

    This is cool Obummer is screwing the whole democrat party and I am loving it.

    September 1, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Joseph B

    If Republicans want bipartisanship then maybe they ought to act in a bipartisan way. If this Republican wants not to be a hypocrite he should state that raving mobs trying to stop debate have no place in all of this. He should state the truth which is that what is being proposed is not socialism and that using that word for the purpose of fear mongering is wrong. He should then get the Republicans to offer solutions and compromise rather than what they are offering now which is no solutions by way of fear mongering rhetoric.

    September 1, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. RR in AZ

    A little "revolution" is good every now and then....If the Democrats, have the votes, they should pass their concepts. The Republicans had their way for eight years! Bipartisanship is overated in my opinion....

    September 1, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. once upon a horse

    two words here.....


    September 1, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. John, NC

    The focus should be on cutting cost of existing system so people can afford it.

    September 1, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    "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" – That's because you've done everything in your power to make them afraid of change, including flat out lying and funding astroturf 'movements' full of GOP staffers.

    September 1, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Hammerer

    If healthcare is rammed through there is a good chance that a revolution will breakout.
    Obama has done everything in his power to divide this country and start a civil war. Then he can take complete control over the United States and dictate his will over all areas of your life. This has and is his goal from the start.

    September 1, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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