Alexander Says New Health Bill Is a “Political Kamikaze Mission Toward a Historic Mistake”

Posted on December 15, 2009

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today made the following remarks on the Senate floor about the Senate health care bill (full transcript available upon request):

• “There’s all this talk about ‘history.’ The majority leadership seems determined to engage in this political kamikaze mission toward a historic mistake.”

• “But there are lots of different kinds of history, and a lot of historic mistakes have been made … For example, there was the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930. That was a big tax and it sounded like a good idea at the time … but it led us into the Great Depression. It was a ‘historic’ mistake.”

• “More recently, there was the ‘boat luxury tax’ … Congress put a 10 percent luxury tax on boats costing more than $100,000. Sound familiar? ‘We’re going to get the rich people,’ they said. Well, we didn’t get the rich people. [The tax] got the working people. The unintended consequence was that it sank the boat industry, costing jobs, and then Congress rushed back in and repealed that ‘historic’ mistake. And in 1969, 155 Americans weren’t paying income taxes, so Congress imposed something called the ‘alternative minimum tax.’ And last year it affected 28 million taxpayers.”

• “This legislation, when fully implemented, is $1 trillion in Medicare cuts—five years before Medicare is scheduled to go broke, according to its trustees. It’s nearly $1 trillion in new taxes, when fully implemented. It’s an increase in premiums for most Americans. And it’s important for our country not to have this historic mistake thrust upon them.”