Politico: GOP Sen.: Party of 'step by step'

Posted on January 21, 2010

The Republican Party isn’t the Party of No. It’s the party of “step by step,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) repeated over and over during a Thursday morning floor speech.

The chairman of the Senate Republican Conference took the floor for a speech designed to explain "What Republicans Are For." But he spent the first half of his speech criticizing Democrats' emphasis on “comprehensive” solutions, instead of piecemeal efforts. He said Republicans senators proposed 173 different “step by step” approaches during 2009 on health care and other pressing issues.

“Human experience has always taught that enough small steps in the right direction is one good way to get you where you want to go and also a good way to avoid many unexpected and unpleasant consequences,” he said.

“Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts is the latest reminder that the American people are tired of risky, comprehensive schemes featuring taxes, debt and Washington takeovers as well as lots of hidden and unexpected surprises."

Alexander then laid out a few Republican health care ideas — many of which have been discussed in recent years — including purchasing insurance across state lines, allowing small businesses to pool their resources and expanding health savings accounts. Alexander's energy ideas include more drilling, more nuclear plants and more electric cars.

He said a wise approach on health care would be to set a clear goal, such as reducing health care costs, then “take a few steps in that direction and then a few more so that we can start solving our country’s problems in a way that re-earns the trust of the American people.”

“It’s time to declare that the era of the 1,000 page bill is over,” he said.