GOP Senator Likens Partisan Health Bill to War Without Congressional Approval
(FOXNEWS) Hammering out a partisan health care reform bill would be like going to war without congressional approval, a top-ranking senator said Sunday.
Reflecting mounting GOP anxiety about how the health care debate will play out once Congress returns from recess, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., urged President Obama to scale back the legislation. The chairman of the Senate Republican Conference said the president should use his address to Congress Wednesday to tell Americans it’s time to “start over.”
“Let’s do it step-by-step. Let’s don’t try to change the whole system at once,” Alexander told “FOX News Sunday,” urging an incremental approach.
Though public discontent over Democrats’ health care plans was apparent at town hall meetings held by members of Congress over the August recess, the Obama administration has not shown an interest in incrementally adjusting the health care system.
Obama, though, has shown some willingness to budge on the inclusion of a government-run insurance plan. But Republicans like Alexander are expressing concern that Democrats will ultimately throw up their hands in the effort to seek a bipartisan compromise and tap their majorities.
“Thumbing their nose at the American people by ramming through a partisan bill would be the same thing as going to war without asking Congress’ permission,” he said. “You might technically be able to do it, but you’d pay a terrible price in the next election.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that if the Senate employs a special procedure, informally known as the “nuclear option,” to pass a bill with a smaller majority than normally required, “They are going to have a total mess.”
But former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Obama should keep his resolve in the face of criticism.
“I think he should stay the course,” Dean said. “If you don’t use your majorities, you lose your majorities.”