Corker and Alexander decry strategies employed in health care vote

Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:53pm

Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are decrying Democratic tactics in winning a milestone victory early Monday in the health-care reform debate.

Alexander complains that Democrats were rushing landmark legislation through the Senate in a snowstorm at Christmastime to keep the public in the dark about what the bill does. Corker is upset about backroom deals to bring reluctant senators on board.

Without a single vote to spare, Senate Democrats cut off a Republican filibuster of reform legislation shortly after 1 a.m., clearing the way for final vote now scheduled for Christmas Eve.

“It’s obvious why the majority has cooked up this amendment in secret, has introduced it in the middle of a snowstorm, has scheduled the Senate to come in session at midnight, has scheduled a vote for 1 a.m., is insisting that it be passed before Christmas — because they don’t want the American people to know what’s in it,” Alexander said.

“Our friends on the Democratic side seem determined to pursue a political kamikaze mission toward a historic mistake.”

In return for his vote, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson won the promise of full federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid in his state.

Gov. Phil Bredesen has estimated that cost in Tennessee at $1 billion over five years, and it has been a major point of contention in the health care debate. Governors across the country have complained that expanding Medicaid could bankrupt their states. Bredesen has called it “the mother of all unfunded mandates.”

Asked about the Nelson deal on CBS’ The Early Show, Corker said, “I feel the same way I hope all Tennesseans and people from other states feel, that it’s not appropriate that my state or your state or other states around the country pick up the tab for Nebraska — and something similar was done in Vermont — just so two people would sign onto a bill that otherwise they would not have supported.”

On CNBC, Corker also said, “There’s no doubt, from the standpoint of passage, last night’s vote was very important. I mean, in fairness it’s hard to see what would derail it coming out of the Senate.”

He added: “For those who want to pass a health care bill that’s full of trickery and budget gimmicks and is going to add tremendously to our budget deficit — for those who want to see that happen last night was a big night.”

13 Comments on this post:

By: slzy on 12/21/09 at 12:44

why did'nt one of you bring charts,slides,and a powerpoint to show the other senators how TennCare is working?

By: TN4th on 12/21/09 at 1:30

a. There has probably never been a more scrutinized piece of legislation in American history
b. Why should more time be wasted on the Republicans, who have vowed to vote against it, no matter what. What would be the purpose?

By: Kosh III on 12/21/09 at 2:20

"majority has cooked up this secret, has introduced it in the middle of a snowstorm, has scheduled the Senate to come in session at midnight, has scheduled a vote for 1 a.m., is insisting that it be passed...— because they don’t want the American people to know what’s in it,”

They just proved they learned how to act like Republicans: Patriot Act, Medicare Drug, the first bailout etc etc

By: chuck37206 on 12/22/09 at 7:08

Yes, it certainly was devious of Sen. Reid and his cohorts to create that blizzard. And, it's unconscionable they way they've imposed an artificial deadline on the debate. After all, it's only been going on since this summer. But the wheels were greased when the original deadline was only extended from August to December.

It is especially sad that the deep commitment of our Senators, and their party, to health care reform (illustrated by the many GOP efforts to bring this about during the Bush admin) have been pushed aside after less than a year of full public debate.

By: shucks on 12/22/09 at 7:26

The pot calling the kettle black. Shame these two didn't extort something for TN instead of marching to GOP orders.

By: Dragon on 12/22/09 at 7:30

Corrupt Democrats - how redundant.

By: JohnGalt on 12/22/09 at 8:11

You libs are hilarious. You applaud politicians for bribing one another with your money. You deserve the unintended consequences that surely will come.

By: govskeptic on 12/22/09 at 8:42

This is total unadultrated bribery no matter which party
does it for whatever cause! The minority of supporters
of this bill are those that pay either no or very little tax of
any sort or those wealthy enough that it is trump change
to them. Seniors and those wage earners between
$40,000 & $140,000 are going to carry the brunt of all
the extra cost. AS USUAL!

By: brrrrk on 12/22/09 at 9:55

Sorry, Senators Alexander and Corker need to decry the 8 years that Republicans got everything they ever asked for without question. During the Bush administration our national debt went from 5,674,178,209,886.86 to 11,909,829,003,511.75 (that's over a 100% increase) and NOW they're concerned about the deficit!! I seems to me that the Republicans are perfectly fine with writing checks with red ink as long as they're in control of the pen.

By: pswindle on 12/22/09 at 10:04

We need two senators that will work for us and not against everything that the Democratic Party stands for. Two are the richest senators are our own, and they will try to veto anything that will help those in need.

By: trtay2004 on 12/22/09 at 10:32

Why didn't they speak up while our former Vice President was making million dollar back room deals to profit off our military men dying?

By: Walter Sobchak on 12/22/09 at 12:38

trtay- It actually turned out to be billions, and counting.

It's a game to these guys. One side vs. the other with no regard to the context of the fight.

Bush's healthcare reform plan called for using federal subsidies to buy private health insurance through states for those who couldn't afford it, without so much as a second thought to addressing the issue of the cost of those plans. This plan was supported by many of the same Repubs that now oppose this healthcare bill.

we spend a $$quarter of a trillion dollars of taxpayer money per year on our overseas empire.

$50billion/year on the "War on Drugs"

$60 billion/year on our over-burdoned and collapsing prison system

And we continue Corporate Welfare to the tune of $100 billion/year

Not to mention, These clowns passed The Patriot Act which authorizes the use of billions in federal dollars for the business of spying on American Citizens. Granted the entire bill was re-written the night before the vote. This is common practice and should be outlawed.

And what has Obama done to eradicate or limit these practices?

This whole thing is an absolute mess, driven by partisan politicis, which by the way is driven by special interests.

I'm so sick of pole humpers at both ends making excuses for the bad policies pushed by their parties.

By: idgaf on 12/24/09 at 5:50

Either can throw off barrys/reids timetable by asking for the bill to be read.

Might not stop it but it will expose us to whats really in it.

What is the mad rush when it dosn't take effect until 2014?