November 29th, 2009
01:22 PM ET
12 years ago

Lugar: Senate should put off health care debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Lugar said Sunday that the Senate should spend the remainder of 2009 focused on the Afghanistan war and budgetary matters."]
Washington (CNN) – The Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that the Senate should set aside the impending debate on the health care reform bill and, instead, use the remainder of the year to focus on the appropriate strategy for the Afghanistan war, funding the war, and passing the appropriations bill necessary to keep the federal government running.

“I would just make this suggestion,” Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “that in the three weeks of debate we still have ahead of us, we really ought to concentrate in the Congress on the war, on the overall strategy of our country and the cost of it. And we ought to be on the budget - passing appropriations bills in a proper way. . . . We may wish to discuss higher taxes to pay for [the war]. But we're not going to do that debating health care in the Senate for three weeks through all sorts of strategies and so forth.”

“The war is terribly important,” Lugar continued, “Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change [aside] and talk now about the essentials: the war and money.”

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, disagreed with Lugar.

“Absolutely not,” Reed replied when asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether the Senate put off debate on the health care reform bill until 2010.

“I think we're in the midst of probably the most significant debate and conclusion with legislation that we've ever had,” Reed told King, “And the health care debate is essential to our economic future. There are - Businesses and individuals each year pay more and more for health care. It has become unaffordable. We have to go ahead and conclude this debate.

“To stop now would be stopping on the edge of, I think, significant reform, which is so important for the country. And frankly, it's ironic, there’s - under the Bush administration, there was no serious debate about Afghanistan. That was relegated to the sidelines. There was no attempt to pay for it. And suddenly, now, that becomes a critical need that we put aside health care. I don't think so.

I think we have to push forward. I think the president's speech [Tuesday about Afghanistan] will be appropriate. I think the strategy we'll analyze in the committees and I think we can go forward on both fronts and we have to.”

After months of deliberation, Obama is set to give a speech Tuesday evening that outlines his plans for the war in Afghanistan. Also this week, the full Senate is set to begin debate on a health care reform bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who managed to garner just enough votes to get the bill to the floor.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Dick Lugar • Health care • Jack Reed • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. voter

    as in every year, the thugs keep wanting to stop the passage of health care. healthcare is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy and it is crippling our economy. it is a shame that people do not realize the impact of healthcare on the economy. it has become unaffordable. Instead of the thugs recommending suggestions to improve the system, they ignore it. ignoring the situation is not going to make the problem go away.

    November 29, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. annie s

    Well, Republicans have always preferred war to doing anything to actually help the American people, so this is not a surprise to hear. Thank goodness we have a few politicians – none of them Republicans apparently – who are actually able to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

    November 29, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Red Dawg

    The whiny desperation of the RePIGlicans grows ever louder as they realize they are going to lose in their efforts to derail health care reform. The endless RePIGlican distractions and delays cannot stop the ever building moment to give each and every American decent, reliable and affordable health care. Not even the greedy, corrupt RePIGlicans can stop it this time.

    Grasp at straws much, Senator Lugar?

    November 29, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Useyourbrain!!

    Bring our troops home from Afghanistan and let those people fight for themselves, then there will be no need for HIGHER TAXES T0 FUND "THE WAR". It isn't a war anyway, it is a political ambition which is killing our troops both mentally and physically.

    When a country goes to war, they need to go in, do whatever is necessay to get the job done (as in WWII) then come home. So if our troops are supposed to fight, then let them fight. Stop with this crap of putting our troops on trial for "slapping" a prisioner or for inadvertantly hurting a civilian. Civilians get hurt during a war. The only way around it is to put all Civilians in a safe "haven" for the duration of the war.

    So either fight to win or go home....

    November 29, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Senator Lugar is exactly correct. It is obvious that the health care bills presented by both The House and The Senate are the last thing Americans need right now. Health care is expensive enough without getting the federal government involved with it. They have so many more appropriate things to take care of like National Defense, the economy which is on life support, homeland security, housing problems, education... the list goes on.

    Certainly with all of these problems the Administration would rather have the nation focus on something else, but that debate has run its course and it turns out we do not want the type of programs they have ended up with. We can not afford them right now.

    November 29, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Independent Lilarose, Bandon, Oregon

    We need to END THE WARS and concentrate on keeping Americans healthy and alive!

    I am 70 years old and we haven't WON a single war since WWII, if we even won that.

    Let's start the draft again. That will end these Bush wars!

    November 29, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Sandra, Atlanta

    Why don't the Republicans just confess? They don't want, never have, and never will want any kind of health care reform unless it fills the pockets of their friends – the insurance companies. I get so sick of their 'let's start over and do it right' mentality. If they had wanted to do something, they have basically been in power for the most part in Congress since 1994 except for a couple of years. Didn't see them do anything then did you? Their hypocrisy is absolutely amazing and not just on this topic.

    I have voted for republicans in the past but don't believe I ever will again.

    November 29, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Addison

    Let's just sweep this healthcare issue under the rug, afterall, me and my family have great insurance!! Typical Republican for ya!

    November 29, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. S M R

    I wonder how much the LOBBIEST'S paid Mr. Lugar for this comment?

    November 29, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Matt

    Republican Senator Lugar has his health inusrance.

    November 29, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Trent

    Go figure....he has his heathcare insurance.

    November 29, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. JACK

    What a smug bug, he's got great healthcare coverage, that's all that's important to a Republican.

    November 29, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Jillie

    He's got healthcare......just put it off. That's an old, white-haired Republican for ya.

    November 29, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. kevincollins

    What hypocrisy - coming from a guy like Lugar who doesn't have to worry about paying for his gold-plated health care. Something tells me if did, then his sense of priorities would do a complete 180, don't you know.

    November 29, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Mark

    Notice how Repubicans love to support any war effort, but refuse to focus on the everyday Americans here at home. Republicans need to be ousted....their worthless.

    November 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. dale

    Keep pushing dem's. 2010 is coming soon and the "american" people will surely retire you alien losers. You have proven to be horrible for the economy and jobs. And guess what? You cannot seem to understand that we don't want more government... We want less and we will not be controlled by you. Your going to start a war right here in the states

    November 29, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course Senator Lugar thinks the debate on health care should be put off. Put it off until they can kill it, that is. Isn't that what Republicans have been trying to do for months now?

    The way I see it, if we get health care reform and people see a benefit, it will destroy the Republican party. But if Republicans succeed in killing reform, they hurt the Democrats. This is insane. Who gets hurt in the end? We do, folks. Some of our elected representatives are playing politics with our lives, and this is ok with them. It's appalling.

    November 29, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Kim

    The republicans make me sick!!! Anything to try to delay healthcare for millions for Americans.

    November 29, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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