November 30th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
12 years ago

Reid to Senate: Get ready to work overtime on health care

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Reid to Senate: Get ready to work overtime on health care."]Washington (CNN) - On their first day back from the Thanksgiving break, Harry Reid had a warning for his fellow senators: You can forget about any more down time for a while.

The Senate Majority Leader announced Monday, as the formal floor debate over the legislation crafted by the Senate Democratic leadership got underway, that "nothing can be more important" than the health care reform bill.

"We'll do this work tirelessly," the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor. "That may mean debating and voting late at night. It definitely means the next weekends - plural - we'll be working. I have events I'll have to postpone, some I'll have to cancel. There is not an issue more important than finishing this legislation."

The Senate was last in session the Saturday before Thanksgiving, when all 60 members of the Democratic caucus voted to begin debating health care reform in the full chamber. That Saturday vote could just be a taste of what's to come in December.

"We're going to have to work Saturdays and Sundays - as much and as long as we have to," said Reid.

The top Republican in the Senate countered Monday that working overtime on health care reform will jeopardize other important work.

"We have a debt ceiling expiring or needing to be expanded, according to the administration. We've not passed appropriations bill. There are tax extenders that expire at the end of the year. There are Patriot Act provisions that expire at the end of the year," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said on the floor of the Senate. "There are many things we must do this month, and yet, we're going to spend an enormous amount of time working on a bill that the American people wish we would not pass this month."

Filed under: Harry Reid • Health care • Senate
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. D. Tree

    40,000 Americans DIE every year because of lack of health insurance.

    Thousands more declare bankruptcy.

    Additionally, if we do nothing to to stop the out-of-control insurance industry, in 10 years healthcare costs will take 30% of every Americans paycheck.

    Health Care reform cannot wait any longer – let Congress pass this ONE thing to help our country before the end of the year!

    November 30, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Jane/Seattle

    This is not work! It is just more obfuscation until they water it down so bad and we get nothing! All we'll get is mandated law to buy insurance as the check gets sent to them for the next election. WORK is what the American people do as you all rob our money, fight wars of stupidity, and generally squander what you have not earned!

    November 30, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. U.S. Common Sense

    HAHAHA . . . Reid, you make me laugh. "We're going to have to work Saturdays and Sundays – as much and as long as we have to." Anyone wishing to keep track of how many full Saturday's and Sunday's the Senate puts in to working on health care in December? We already know the last weekend is out of the question due to Christmas. The weekend before that Senator's already had scheduled events back in their home states since they were scheduled to be out for the holiday season. That leaves this weekend and next weekend. TWO weekends. Can the Senate AGREE to work these next two weekends on health care, especially when they have a whole slew of things including Obama's Afghan strategy he's announcing tomorrow to muddle through? What about the hearings on Ft. Hood and the State Dinner party crashers that Senators are calling for? How about the rest of the stuff (including the budget) that are sitting on your desks?

    Reid, you make me laugh!

    November 30, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    And I suppose these senators will want time and a half too!

    November 30, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |

    This bill is dead with abortion language and a public option. It will never pass. Start over with real reforms next year.

    November 30, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. mjm

    "45,000 Americans die every year because they do not have healthcare"


    You libs need to hold out for 100% plus illegals. Then, you got to get Obama to stop people from dying....after all, he THAT good.

    If I have no insurance and I get hit by a bus, what was the cause of death?

    November 30, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. valwayne

    The American people know that this Obamacare bill has been put together with corrupt deals, and that it will likely destroy our current healthcare system and bankrupt the country for the next 2 generations. We simply can't afford any more corrupt spending. This needs to stop now!!!!!!

    November 30, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. Joshua College Station Texas

    Mitch McConnell keeps saying the American people don't want this. Some people don't want it, but the majority do, according to every reliable poll. McConnell needs to stop lying. It is downright offensive.

    November 30, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. Idiot_Pelosi

    Public to REID: Your HC BILL is CRAP !!!!!

    Go get a bi-partisian bill that most (80% plus) will support:

    ***Some level of tort reform
    ***Competition across state lines
    ***No, you can't drop someone just because they get sick
    ***No tax dollars for abortions
    ***No coverage for illegals except life or death scenarios

    This Socialist, higher taxes on businesses and those who pay most of the taxes already is CRAP

    November 30, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. mjm


    No, that was the Democrats....Look it up. They attempted a filibuster and failed. As much as you would like that to be true, it's not.

    Also, how many of those programs are broke?

    November 30, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Idiot_Pelosi


    Look to get voted out of office next year.

    Too bad, so sad.

    November 30, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. Enough

    Flush this lousy bill down the toilet and get working on some REAL reform, not the destruction of quality health care. Fools pushing for the public option are clueless.

    November 30, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. terry,va

    Reid, just because you and the Obummie dumbocrats push this through before 2010, doesn't mean we will forget about it come election time. Why are you rushing? This thing stinks and you know if people get time to look at it, it will never pass.

    November 30, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Wow, what desperation!
    He knows it will die in the Senate if it's delayed at all. There's no way they're going to retain 60 seats come 2010.
    Hopefully, this drive to rush it through will convince some moderate dems to concede and look for compromising with the republicans on important issues like TORT REFORM!!!

    November 30, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Hark do I hear the demise of the Dummycrats that vote for this monster? As well as any GOP'er that votes with them. 2010 will be 1994 repeat!


    November 30, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. WrongKindofChange

    What he should have said was "get ready to have your vote bought." Everyone knows that the Dems will buy whatever votes they need to get this thing passed despite what the American public wants.

    November 30, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. Republicans are the American Taliban

    The Taliban has much more important work to townhall meetings and forming an armed revolt against the United States...

    November 30, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. IndyVoter

    Which Americans don't want this to pass. The last I checked over 55% of Americans support a health care bill WITH a public option. Why do Republicans keep making up statistics??? We have had this debate before, this is not something new. The Republicans know exactly what is in the bill. They just don't want their insurance buddies to lose any money and that is why they have done nothing but block and obstruct. If they had passed it in August when the President wanted it passed, then Congress could have been working on all the projects he just named, but since Republicans want to drag it out, then this is what you get.

    November 30, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  19. mjm

    If this passes, you libs won’t have to worry about tax cuts for the rich anymore....or the somewhat rich....or the middle class. Everyone will get to pay taxes just like the rich!

    Great plan by the way. Tax the rich as if the rich will always be rich. They are shrinking the upper tax bracket while expanding the lower.

    It's like in IL, when they decided to tax cigarettes for the SCHIP program, then they placed a smoking ban on restaurants. Guess they didn't want to fund SCHIP after all.

    November 30, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. howie

    The number of people dieing each year because they have no insurance is a nonsense. The people who do not have insurance go to the emergency room for treatment period! A friend of mine is a Emergency room dr and he says he takes care of these people all the time, so who are these uninsured that are dieing. It is talk talk talk in an efffort to get his bill passed. If it passes the 2010 congress will get rid of it and quick. The democrats simply do not understand most americans do not want it in the current form.

    November 30, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. Illinoistom

    Now that congress has wrecked the economy, they shouldn't stop until they have destroyed the best health care system in the world. To pay for this wretched excess, they should disban the military and raise our taxes to at least 60%. And every worker not currently unemployed shoud be forced to join the SEIU. Then we will have Dear Leader's Worker's Paradise.

    November 30, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. Dave

    Those of you who want this health care plan to pass; please explain why the Democrats' put an amendment into the bill exempting them from this health care bill. They can keep their private care plan. If it isn't ok for them; why is it good for us?

    November 30, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. Mike Syracuse, NY

    I'd say 10.2% unemployment and two wars are WAY more important than this health care bill. get the economy fixed, and get more troops to help in Afghanistan, then worry about 3rd order issues. 85% of the American public are appy with their health care. It's not a crisis, the ecoomy is.

    November 30, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. Jimmy James

    They work less than 3 days a week as it is. They planning on working a tedious 4 days? Politicians are so out of touch. Term limits is desperately needed . These morons have no clue what it's like to work for a living.

    November 30, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Realist

    The majority of people will not benefit from this bill, and are happy with their current healthcare coverage....but it does contain some real reform that will make the marketplace work much better than it does today for self-employed people who need to purchase individual coverage, so to that I say HURRAH! However, with all the new regulations banning individual underwriting, with the coverage mandate, and the individual subsidies, what exactly is the public option supposed to solve? Let's see how these regulations work before we add a new Washington bureaucracy. You can blame the insurance industry for the mess that is individual insurance, but the fact remains that premiums are up 50% over the past 7 years because medical spending is up 50%...not because of insurer, device maker, or pharmacy profits. I don't see anything in the bill that will lower total spending, like tort reform would. In short, we will be spending more as a nation, not less, with this bill. The American people have no appetite for rationing, so we will have to learn to live with spending 25%+ of our GDP on healthcare in the future.

    November 30, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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