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. Bruce

    Public sponsored healthcare has been tried on the state level several times in the last 20 years. These plans are very similar to what is being proposed now. Interestingly enough, the plans always cost more than projected, are rife with waste and fraud and are always scaled back or eliminated.

    Anyone who ignores history is doomed to repeat it.

    November 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. K

    Sarah Palin claims Healthcare reform is something President Obama is trying to Ram down the throats of Americans.....!

    Millions of Americans dying has nothing to do with Ms Palins ridicolous assertions, Americans dying because they simply can't afford to go to the doctor....

    Talk about a disconnect from REALITY, for Republicans this is all about opposing President Obama....

    If I ever have to hear the Campagne slogan, "Country First", I think I'll puke......

    November 20, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. ww

    well these last 2 "statements" on women's healthcare guidelines are prime examples of instiling fear...nobody is suspicious on the timing of these announcements? It's NOT the future under Obamacare – think about it – who has the most to gain by these announcements????? Insurance companies and the republicans who are protecting them!

    On another note – why aren't any republicans MAD at their elected officials for not fighting back with some alternatives? If they truly object to what's in this bill, OFFER SOMETHING up to debate about? If you can't offer something productive, stop the whining!

    November 20, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Russ from Md

    The fear is real. Look at how they plan to pay for this: They start collecting taxes now for a bill that will cost $1,000,000,000,000 over the next 10 years but the benefits will not start for 3-4 years. That means that we have to pay 10 years worth in taxes to pay for 6-7 years for this health reform. How are we going to continue to stay out of the red after 10 years even (which I doubt) if the first ten year work out to the planned budget? For all you genius liberals out there, how should we pay for it then or should I say how should our children pay for it then along with the enormous national debt that the current administration is creating right now? You’re darn strait I am scared.

    November 20, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    The "we can't afford it right now" argument has been used by the Republicans to block health care reform for 60 years. They also used it to complain about Medicare back in the 60's and Social Security in the 30's/40's. The Republicans are consistently on the wrong side of history. No solutions, just rhetoric.

    November 20, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. GG

    Neither party has a monopoly on demagoguery. Our country went through 7 years of the democrats lies, distortions, and fear mongering after 9-11 so you can hardly blame republicans for taking a page from their playbook.
    The reason the republicans are fighting against cloture is because it's the only chance to stop the Dems from enacting their hyper-partisan agenda. If it goes to the floor for debate it will only take a simple majority actually pass the bill.
    It seems to me the democrats are the ones that are really afraid of an honest debate. Why not take a little more time and create a bipartisan commision to study the issue and suggest reforms we can all agree on? Because this is about power, not reform.

    November 20, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. shmeckel

    "Party of No". Hmm, reminds me of being a little kid in the grocery store; mommy can I have this mommy can I have that, and she would say No No No. I did not like it either but she was absolutely correct.

    November 20, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Barbara Independent in NY

    Well, you don't think that they can admit to being owned by the Insurance cartels do you? Better to lie and scare people. I don't know how these liars sleep at night. But then again you need to have a conscience that might keep you awake at night

    November 20, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. David in Dallas

    The GOP is the party of fear in ALL debates. Fear, ignorance, division, hate, anger, self-righteousness, intolerance, prejudice, priviledge, and puritanism.


    The Democrats are putting together ideas they hope will improve health care in this country.

    Is the GOP putting together an alternate plan they hope will improve health care in this country?

    Nope. They're the party of "no", not the party of progress.

    November 20, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. ak

    DEMOCRATS. If you want to end the dramas over if the Health Bill, add provisions authorize the invasion of Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Lebanon, Palestine, deployment of a handful of battalions on the Mexican-US borders, criminalize homosexuality, extend death penalty to juveniles, sentence any woman that perform abortion to life imprisonment, order mandatory Bible classes in all public schools, restrict the movement of Muslims, profile every Mexican, Black, and Muslim. Oh, redefine who is a citizen, and allow children to carry guns to school. I guarantee you will have every GOP member voting YES and praising Obama.

    November 20, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. What???

    Can you deathers, teabaggers, intellectual midgits admit that we will pay more for either of the two wars than we would pay for healthcare?

    What did we get out of the two (2) wars? zero / zilch / nada. Is it possible that healthcare could possibly help some needy american? Is it still patriotic to spend money on americans?
    If you see the logical sir/maam have a brain. If you don't, you are a member of the GOP

    November 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. ww

    Greg in SF – you are so right...can't afford it? But no complaints "affording" the 2 wars that were conveneniently taken off the books???

    November 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Bob in Pa

    This reform is also being treated like it is a onetime cost to be borne out over ten years. The 850 billion dollar cost being floated by Harry is a fictitious number. The number represents a ten year period from today if passed, the CBO has set the actual cost it to be 3.5 trillion dollars for 14 years from the actual implementation date in 2014.

    Wise up America – Just say NO.

    November 20, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Karen

    Who is not afraid of the health care reform?? I cringe to think Harry Reid and Chris Dodd have anything to do with rewriting my health care. I think the fear is very real.

    November 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. JM Canada

    Three facts should frame this debate:

    1. The United States spends more per capita on health care than any country on the planet – 16% of GDP.

    2. The United States ranks 37th in the world from the perspective of the quality of health care provided – just ahead of Cuba.

    3. The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not have have comprehensive, publicly funded health care.

    How can you be proud of this? Why do you allow such a situation to persist?

    November 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. MikeH

    To "SocialismBad",

    You should stop driving on any public highways, don't go to the library, don't eat any food that you didn't grow, don't go to any public parks, don't use the post office, if you served in the military, refuse all medical treatment, and when you are old and get sick, you should die quickly.

    What a ignorant tool you are

    November 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Anyone with any sense is afraid–afraid of the unbelievably irresponsible efforts of the Democrats to bankrupt the American economy!

    The only thing the Democrats seem to care about is buying their own re-elections with huge, dripping, gobs of taxpayers' money. They don't care in the slightest that more people oppose this health care insanity than support it (49% vs 47%, Rasmussen). They don't care that more people trust the private sector than they trust government to keep health care cost down (47% vs. 33%, Rasmussen).

    Over the last few years, I got really disgusted with the bible-thumping bigotry of the Republicans, but they're a whole lot better than the people-are-too-dumb-to-take-care-of-themselves arrogance of Democrats.

    November 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Fnord-a-saurus Rex

    we can no longer claim that healthcare is too expensive. How much does it cost to run 2 wars in foreign countries? Studies show that the Iraq war alone costs12 BILLION an MONTH. If the healthcare reform is going to cost 848 billion dollars total for 10 years then if we were not in the Iraq war it would have already been paid and then some.
    We've spent approxamtely 1.152 TRILLION dollars on securing our oil interests in Iraq. Ask yourself, is oil more important than American lives? Why is there no Tea Baggers protesting the insane cost of these wars. Is it OK to spend a crap ton of money as long as we are doing it for oil or so called revenge?

    November 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. orionsway

    wow, I see the agents of fear are spreading their tales of woe here in mass. Nice to see such level headed conversation about a topic so important to the future of this country, that the extremist are out in force doing the work of their masters who hide in the dark. Its no different that 1,000 yrs ago – make people fear it and then become their leaders.

    Those of you that are so afraid of obama and claim that junk about muslims are actually part of the problem and couldn't find a solution to save yourselves. You do realize that the two worst recessions in recent amercian history happened while the republicans were in office? We were attacked by terrorists while the republicans were in power? Our banking industry almost collapsed while the republicans were in the white house? That the republican administration put tarp in place? The republican administration gave banks billions before they left office? The bush administration did nothing to promote world peace, fix climate change, address health care, and ran our federal budget to the highest levels in the history of our country? And your worried about obama?? What a joke.

    The obsession surrounding "illegal aliens" is breathtaking. You apparantely have forgotten that we are all relatively new to this country. None of us americans actually own america as all of our ancestors took a boat to get here, then wiped out the indian culture to lay claim. Stop watching fox opinions and get a life.

    November 20, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Sam Sixpack

    The name-callers are just angry it is taking so much time and effort to steal your grandmother's health care.

    November 20, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. shmeckel


    I don’t think republicans are happy with the GOP. But you are wrong as to why. You should never take a politician at their word. When Dems claim the reps have no ideas they are lying. They have offered close to 40 ideas, but it is a Dem controlled house and they vote no to the ideas for debate. Here are some ideas they proposed since February.

    H.R. 77; H.R. 109; H.R. 198; H.R. 270; H.R. 321; H.R. 464; H.R. 502; H.R. 544; H.R. 917; H.R. 1086; H.R. 1118; H.R. 1441; H.R. 1458; H.R. 1468; H.R. 1658; H.R. 1891; H.R. 2520; H.R. 2607; H.R. 2692; H.R. 2784; H.R. 2785; H.R. 2786; H.R. 2787; H.R. 3141; H.R. 3217; H.R. 3218; H.R. 3356; H.R. 3372; H.R. 3400; H.R. 3438; H.R. 3454; and H.R. 3478.

    November 20, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Elliott

    @ RAL
    "If theer was a law against STUPIDITY almost all of the lib comments would be deleted."

    Um, you may want to check all of your grammatical errors before you start talking about a law against stupidity. ROFLMAO!

    November 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Sea.gem

    What a load of BS..."Fear" was ramming through teh near trillionn dollar failed 'stimulus package'...or have you forgotten Obama saying we must do this now or unemplyment will go over 8%...Dems have the old smokescreen and blame rhetoric as usual instead of addressing the fact that the bill is not financially feasible and may not even be constitutional...if the 'children' who are so "pro" even read the bill they would not be as sing-song Obama-struck!

    November 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. Enough

    We should be fearful. Anyone who actually believes that this bill will deliver what the Democrats are telling you...........deserves what you get. Ignorance is bliss, as you all are proving.

    November 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Jane/Seattle

    War Mongering, fear mongering, delusional chants of Socialist, Communist, Patriot, Terrorists, and all the rest of this mantra they endlessly sell through every avenue available. Just keep repeating for years the same lines (broken record technique) and soon those who follow the leaders will start the drumbeat for whatever the elete masters say. This goes for most, if not all, Ideologies of Control. This marriage of corporate power/money with government IS the exact definition of Fascism-Big Brother-New World Order (GHWB), globalization, WTO, World Bank (USA) and all the rest of some flashy terms which hold many meanings and understandings for different folks. Textbooks rewritten in Texas of all places so the story can be set for the optimal effects of revisions to confuse the unwary who believe. Question Authority for they are the Masters of Weapons Mass Deception's! When FEAR is your main line, why would any sudden change occur in the control one exerts? Main Street gets to bailout Wall Street and this is not the sales pitch we got! So, who was it that said we need to judge actions and not words. Republicrats All–different faces of one coin-the coin of the Realm! Drones increased in Karzai country fraud, children murdered in terror of fear-sent by America-land of the free?, home of the brave? land of the patriots? creating massive poverty in the wake of the reign of capitalist Terror? Peoples families murdered before their very eyes and in the name of us-the ones who pay and have very little say in how we are "Screwed" (Thom and so much more it becomes truly "terrifying" to look far into a future we may not live to see! "Threshold" by Thom Hartmann lays this out most clearly. Sorry to be such a downer, but this is what we have learned from our Impeccable teachers seeking truth to save this world from wrong thinking ideas which imperil us all. Peace and thanks for considering these ideas. J 😮

    November 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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