September 1st, 2009
07:40 PM ET
12 years ago

GOP senator warns of 'minor revolution' over health care

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Dead Patient

    Good, Let it wreck anything it can. The Party of No belongs on the trash heap of history.

    September 1, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. jsc

    The GOP do not want the rest of the people in the USA to have what they get, with their great health care from the Goverment, paid for with our tax money, Thats why they do not want to share it. it would mean they may get less care, if they have to share it with the rest of us.
    Thats why we hear all the shouting coming from them.

    September 1, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. T Mckinley

    Revolution, Senator? Is the Southern Conferderacy going to rise again? Are you going to join them, Senator?

    September 1, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Nashvillian

    I read all the schedules since I wanted to attend a Town Hall meeting with Senator Alexander and see if I could ask a question or two. Interesting he never had any listed as being held, they must have been by invitation only I guess. To be fair Democrat Jim Cooper never held one either, we were told we could go to his office and try to schedule a meeting. So I am not sure where this knowlege of peoples thoughts from a town hall came from unless he got the highlights from Marsha Blackburn on the ones she held.

    September 1, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Grant

    I'm reminded of another Republican motto; Bring em on!

    September 1, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. John, Brooklyn, New York

    The Democrats may very well end up losing voter support by pushing through much needed health care the direct benefit of the Republicans. But then again, the same thing happened in 1964 when they passed the Civil Rights Act, losing Democratic voters across the South for two generations.

    Fortunately, Democrats inherently have a moral center that informs them to do the right thing, regardless of the popular consequences.

    September 1, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. MatthewDetroit

    85% of Americans are satisfied with their healthcare.
    Stay out of our pockets.
    Stop stealing our money.
    Stay out of healthcare.
    We do not want nationalized healthcare.
    It does not work.
    Just leave it alone Obama.
    You truly are a socialist and have a socialist agenda.
    You are using the recession as an excuse to spend wildly and break the country. Cap and Trade is bad. National Health Care is bad.
    HOW COME YOU WONT DRILL FOR OIL, But you are paying for oil to be drilled off the coast of South America. You are a Liar Barack.

    September 1, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. fed up

    a bill does not need 60 votes to pass. it only needs 51. 60 is required to cut off debate or end a filibuster. please get the terminology correct. it is important. the procedure democrats are using will allow one of themost important measures of our generaltion to come for a vote. the republican way is to keep things from being voted on. would the editors on these posts get a little beter and tightehn it up. you are causing trouble wiht your loose reporting!

    September 1, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Rog

    For those of you who feel the need to criticize those who oppose HR 3200 should at least READ the bill before making comments. Yes, i am a Democrat and I'm also for healthcare reform. Read the bill people!!! Seek out parts of the bill that critics are attacking and OBJECTIVELY review those parts. You can readily find on the internet articles of those people who object to this bill where they spell it out and refer to the exact page of the bill to look at. This bill is VERY obscure and therefore can be interpreted in MANY different ways.
    I'm tired of the constant criticizing from BOTH parties and it doesn't do a bit of good. I've also found out that MOST people speaking out about this bill have no idea what they are talking about. They resort to party politics. This isn't about a specific party, it's about what is right for us. After reading many of the criticisms along with the actual references on the bill, I have to say that HR 3200 is NOT what it advertises to be. I do hope that those reading this will be their own judge however.

    September 1, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. handout libby

    If Dems are going to keep twisting the rules to benefit themselves (reconciliation, and replacing Kennedy) how long before they try to change the Constitution?

    September 1, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Collin

    Who's not acting bipartisan!?!?!?!?! Mike Enzi, one of the guys supposedly acting on behalf of the Republicans for bipartisanship has already said he is doing nothing at that table except gutting the Democratic proposal. He also said that he has no intention of supporting it even if he DOES get what he wants. Another at the table, Chuck Grassley, has already said he would not support any proposal that comes out of those talks.

    It is 100% clear that the Republicans are purely in the room to be obstructionists and they have no desire except to see Obama suffer defeat. The Dems SHOULD go it alone on this one if we are to see any improvement in the health care system, which is already suffering from all of the problems that these people have been crying about regarding a public option.

    If the Republicans or these all of these town hall "average people," who are ALL OF A SUDDEN concerned about the deficit even after 8 years of Bush deficit swelling, want to act like babies and take to the streets after this passes, I must quote Clint Eastwood, "Go ahead, make my day!!!!"

    September 1, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Chuck

    "Minor revolution", my eye. It's a wonder that there hasn't yet been a "major revolution" over the fact that close to 50 million Americans are without health insurance coverage and over letting the insurance companies do whatever they want for profit.

    Why do Republicans continue this ongoing perpetual fearmongering? Maybe it's because they have nothing to offer as a solution.


    September 1, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. The south will lose again.

    Bring it on johnny rebs,you havent seen arms till you come to the city.

    September 1, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. daisy

    I hope that every single person who is screaming about how horrible this bill is will say NO to Social Security and Medicare when it's their turn.

    September 1, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Peter

    The party of the bitter angry old men is at it again, insteadof small revolution I have a solution for you! why not let the public or patients make choices? or the revolution is all about the south confederation! Sen Alexander what a stupid statement? there is alot to learn from the Rwandan genocide especially the right wing radio talk shows and fox news!

    September 1, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Listen up! The current health care system is UNSUSTAINABLE! When 35 million more babyboomers retire and expect to receive medicare (since we have paid for it for the previous generation), we better be able to reduce the cost of healthcare. I have worked in healthcare for the past 10 years and the money that is wasted and profited is sinful.

    September 1, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. maximus

    Those republican demagogues are fighting head over heals to keep their party alive after they realize that both partisans and members are deserting their clan. They have beeen ignoring the people's voice and complaints for so long, neglecting their needs, breaking their trust, killing their children in vain wars, and causing their investments to vanish. The people is sick and tired of being manipulated, used, abused, mocked, taken for granted. It's time that republicans realize that their days are over and that they dissolve their wicked cult and let righteouness prevail. It's too late now to pretend to care about the people. The people has taken its stand. No matter who the president is or which party is ruling, the same fate is awaiting any one who fails to listen to the people's complaints, protect their investment, the youths,, and secure their lives. So long Republicans. It was pain doing business with you.

    September 1, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. deetee

    Come on, people. We know in our guts that we can't keep chugging along the way we've been doing for the last several decades or so.

    At some point SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE has to make the tough decisions to do what needs to be done to steer this country back on the right track.

    I love Obama because he has made the stand to be that guy and for this to be the time.

    Instead of nitpicking and putting our own selfish needs first, I think we all need to realize that for better or worse we are all in this together and we need to put the better interest of our nation before party and before self.

    If not, we run the risk of becoming a country that will indeed implode from its own short-sightedness, selfishness and greed.

    September 1, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. John

    The Democrats need to move forward, independently and GET THIS DONE.

    September 1, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. welches, oregon

    Sen. Grassley: No public option in health reform
    By MIKE GLOVER (AP) – 20 hours ago

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said Monday he remains hopeful a limited health care reform measure can be negotiated, but that a small bipartisan group of senators working on the issue agrees a government-run public option won't be part of the package.

    See, the problem with the GOP is that they KNOW a gov. run health care system will absolutely work – just like it's working for medicare, SSI, and CHIP.

    That's why they're so adamentaly against it – that and they have their hands in the Insurance Company pockets – The GOP want to be the Party to bring it but they had their chance – years of chances. They know when Universal Health Care with a public option is avaialble to all Americans, the Party that brung it will be hailed as leaders for generations to come. That's the whole problem with the GOP – Party before Country.

    September 1, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. bozo the obama

    finally someone is standing up to the communist and socialist czars that the white house has put in charge of our country.

    September 1, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. suzyku

    Another republican fool! The republicans have gotten insanely out of hand, they seem to all need mental help! They have become consumed by their own hatred and lies and don't seem to know what's real or truthful at all. The whole party should be disbanded and thrown out in the trash!!!

    September 1, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. David E Szewczak

    The best solution to the health care issue is to add a good "mental health care package" to it. The majority of Republican nut cases will jump on board and it will sail through passage. This will save them a ton of money.

    September 1, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. Independent

    I agree with John. The time for trying to please everybody is over. Obama needs to just start making the tough decisions and push it through or it won't get done!

    September 1, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. Hank

    Hey why did the democrats call me a Nazi or brown shirt for expressing my first amendment rights?

    I'm so hurt.

    Can't wait until elections in 2010!

    Love Dave

    September 1, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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