November 20th, 2009
11:34 AM ET
13 years ago

Democrats slam GOP as party of 'fear' in health care debate

Washington (CNN) - Traditional Senate decorum yielded to brass-knuckle politicking in the health care debate Friday as top congressional Democrats sought to close party ranks before a key procedural vote this weekend.

Senate Democrats slammed their Republican colleagues as leaders of a counterproductive party of fear caught in an obstructionist mindset dating back to the New Deal. Republicans, in turn, ripped Democrats for pushing a bill that conservatives claim will force millions of Americans to drop insurance plans they like while jacking up premiums and doing nothing to slow spiraling medical costs.

The harsh rhetoric served as a backdrop for a rare Saturday night Senate
vote on whether to formally proceed with floor debate on Senate Majority Leader

Harry Reid's sweeping $848 billion health care bill.

If Republicans stay unified in opposition to the bill, Reid will need the support of all 58 Senate Democrats along with independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to reach the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

Three key Democratic moderates - Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska - have refused to publicly indicate if they'll back Reid. Each has expressed concern about the cost and scope of the legislation.

Filed under: GOP • Senate Democrats
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. Ted from Calif.

    The Republican refuseniks are demagouging this issue just like they demagouge all Democratic proprosals. This is nothing new; the refuseniks cannot face the fact that they lost the last two elections.

    Ben Nelson has proved that he sold his soul to the insurance companies.

    It is time to move forward on the healthcare issue. If the Refuseniks will not allow the bill to come to the floor, reconciliation should be used.

    November 20, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. haren

    Looks like some people knows everything about what this bill is going to do to jobs, deficit or higher premium.
    why don't we wait for a year after passing this bill whether it is lowering premium,killing job or increasing deficit.
    Just to write what they hear from Fox news and party of NO. is not going to make their point of view fly.

    November 20, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Obviously, democrats are wrong again!

    I assume the democrats haven't seen the tactics by SEIU. Several cases are caught on film where SEIU members have been beating (literally) TEA Party protestors.

    They're the only ones "Fear Mongering" by actually assaulting those opposed to this massive bill.

    Of course, CNN wouldn't show you this truth. It goes against their agenda.

    November 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. terry,va

    Senator Landrieu of Louisana has already scored 100 million dollars for her vote. Hell of a system isn't it folks. Sell your morals and soul to the devil for money. Do what is right and you can look yourself in the mirror. Unless you don't have a conscious and are a street walker.

    November 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Jim

    it is pretty clear to anyone who actually looks, that the republicans are using scare tactics at every juncture. often with few (if any)facts to back up their stance.

    it's time they tried to help solve the problem.

    the entire country is waiting ...

    November 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Ray Fisher

    The GOP are merely protecting their special interest pals and lobby groups, they serve their wallets first and America last!!! So when do we voters get a lobby??? Our votes are being negated and thus democracy is dead!!!

    November 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. usualone

    From my readings, early on the Democrats said we would face 10% unemployment, not 8% as mentioned in an earlier posting. The people who criticize the Democrats only give out insults. They NEVER offer positive alternatives. That is their basic problem, other than that they push "fear" tactics. Everything shows that they don't want to do anything for anyone. I would rather try and fail than act as they do. That is what is appealing about President Obama. Wonder how our country would be if he did nothing. ..... Oops, I'm glad I didn't have to see those results. We had 8 years of that, except for initiating the wars that sent us on our way to overspending. For being the party for war as a solution, I am surprised how scared the Republicans are.

    November 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Get Smart

    When you're cutting medicare benefits while not giving any cost of living to the Elderly. Increasing rates for medicare to match public insurance. Putting medicare people in Co-ops. This is something for the elderly not to attack? The Democrats are immoral trash now. It took me fifty years to see it. But suddenly I realized this is not a christian party; GET AWAY FROM THEM AS FAST AS YOU CAN THEY BELIEVE IN THE FOLLOWING: GAY RIGHTS, ABORTIONS, DEATH LIST FOR THE ELDERLY (SHAVING MEDICARE IS THE SAME AS A LIST FOR THEY CAN NOT SURVIVE LIVING ON SOCIAL SECURITY ALONE). A PRESIDENT WHO KNOWS NO PROTOCOL ON THE ACTIONS OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. FREE BORDERS AND PARDONS FOR ALL THE ILLEGALS MAKING THEM CITIZENS SO THEY CAN VOTE. Need I say more?

    November 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. t22

    If "scare tactics" means that we oppose all of the boneheaded decisions this administration makes, then yes, and we're proud of it.

    If any of you think that spending close to a trillion dollars will reduce the deficit, then I have a plan for you – send me $100 and I'll give you $5 by which you to reduce your deficit.

    November 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. terry,va

    How many tax payers are opining? I'm not talking about those that pay less in taxes than I do in beer. I tired of paying for your sorry behinds!!!!!

    November 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. roger

    They should have branded the repubs. as the party of FEARS, LIES AND DISTORTION!

    November 20, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Pam from Iowa

    The Republican party has long been a party of fear mongers.
    They try to instill fear into Americans when things don't go their way!

    Remember back to the 2000 election when then-VP Cheney threatened all American voters that if they did not vote Republican, then terrorists would come to the US and try to kill them!

    I have wondered many times since then how he was going to accomplish that!

    November 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. RAL

    If theer was a law against STUPIDITY almost all of the lib comments would be deleted.
    I can't wait to see how much howling ther e will bes when
    all thier benifits are cut ...
    Their bills go up
    AND they can't have tests or see your doctor because
    1.The Doctor quit
    2.The Obama great healthcare plan doesn't allow it. or much of anything else
    3. If your a Senior kiss you butt bye bye!!!
    Just a little warning

    November 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. ak

    Only in the United States people object to program intended to save them when they are most vulnurable.

    November 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. LacrosseMom

    Republican LIES..........

    "Senator Snow was given $5 Billion dollars for her vote"!

    You, GOPers, are seriously mentally ill!

    November 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Jack in Florida

    Not only in health care, but they fear monger in EVERYTHING. That is how Bush and Cheney "ruled" this country for 8 years. They created fear in the citizens of this country so that the citizens of this country would never question what they were doing........................FINALLY the media and the citizens caught on to this despicable behavior and voted them out in 2008!


    November 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Mark from Louisiana

    A party of fear? It's the dems that are hell bent on destroying our country. Reid gives Landrieu 100 million for Louisiana, she has now scheduled a fund raiser for him in New Orleans. Amazing what 100 million dollars of taxpayer money can buy!

    November 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. DALE

    You would think that a vote to bring a bill to the floor for debate would be unanimous. The Senate is a place for vigorus debate which in the end should produce the best law possible. What does the GOP fear? It appears they prefer 30 second TV sound bites to actual debate. If they continue with their current "all or nothing" and "you are with us or against us" mentality, this bill will be jammed down their throats. The Repbulican electrate should be demanding the GOP Senators participate in this debate. Get this done and move on to the next issue. This should applies to all legislators, stop talking to the reporters trying to get yourself set up for the next election, go into the chamber sit your butt down and do your job. That's what we expect and demand

    November 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. slipthalo

    The GOP is evidently afraid to debate the bill on the open Senate floor – seems they know they have nothing to add but don't want the public to know that or confirm they are in the pockets of the Insurance industry.

    November 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. DaveF

    Why listen to the GOP when no matter what the Bill is they will all vote NO!!! even those who had their amendment approved voted against it. What if these liars lost their job and went on COBRA only to have their monthly cost raised to $32,000 per year. This has happened to a close friend of mine whose daughter has bone Cancer, whose wife has MS and he is in need of a back operation and he can't find a job. I think that those who vote against the Bill should be indicted for "Murder" as close to 50,000 Americans will again die in 2010 for lack of health care. Follow the leader Palin, Beck & the drug addict who is still not in jail. Great Country ain't it???.

    November 20, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Mike in SA

    If the GOP is the party of "fear", then the Dems are the "Fantasy Island" party. The Dems idea of health care reform harms the exact constituency that they proport to protect. The consequence of this will cause A) reduced wages for the currently uninsured as businesses attempt to account for the cost of providing insurance without raising prices, B) a rise in prices as businesses attempt to make up for the cost of adding health care without lowering wages, or C) a financial burden to be born directly by the currently uninsured leaving them less real disposable income since this is a government mandate. Each of these scenarios of consequence will ultimately mean that while the currently uninsured, who already have a hard enough time putting food in the pantry, will (eventually) have insurance, they just won't have enough income to put food in the pantry any more. This isn't fear, this is realistic thought. You might try it sometime.

    November 20, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. SocialismBad

    The Republicans are the party of reality. They realize the country can't afford this financial albatross. The American people don't won' t the government invloled in the healthcare. Anybody who votes for this mess better have plans for a new job come the next election cycle.

    If the Democrats were serious about true reform, they would address tort reform, cross-state competition and elimnating waste, fraud and abuse in existing programs. These would cost Americans ZERO and reduce the cost of healthcare to ALL.

    Instead they have constructed a bill over 2,000 pages that will destroy the healtcare system in this country. If you thought the $800 billion farce they passed to ensure unemployment wouldn't go above 8% was a great success then you're dumb enough to think this fiasco can work. Are Americans REALLY this stupid????

    November 20, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. T

    $848 Billion is NOT reform, it is taxation on the working class. Most of you in congress wouldn't have any idea what that is of course, thus your wild ideas about reform and it costing more than is available. How about you drop the tax payer funded health care you receive now and start paying for it with your over inflated 8% pay increase? With the record lows in approval ever since Pelosi and her gang took over in the 2006 elections, one might think that a pay cut of 25% or more is appropriate.

    Why not quit paying farmers to NOT grow crops when there is shortages world wide, it seems there is a market for them? Or would that be fiscally responsible in getting a grip on run away spending?

    November 20, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. FactCheck

    Amazing what 100 million dollars of taxpayer money can buy!

    Yeah, heaven forbid that the Dems actually help Katrina victims. They should all take the lesson from BushCheney and sip champagne while New Orleans sinks.

    November 20, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Glen

    The problem with the case against former Illinois governor Rod
    Blagojevich is that we still don't know who he tried to sell the senate seat to (??) The feds are probably trying to build a case against another prominent African-American congressman to take the role of the fall guy who tried to buy the seat. They have no real case against either congressman-–so, If that charge is the center-piece of their case, It is not a strong case, I would venture to say.

    November 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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