Alexander: “It’s Embarrassing” That Senate Majority Won’t Allow 72 Hours to Review, Determine Final Cost of Major Health Care Bill

Posted on September 30, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the Senate (a full transcript of Alexander’s remarks is available upon request): • “Republicans believe that we ought to have ample time to read this bill, that it ought to be on the internet for 72 hours, and that we ought to hear from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on how much it costs . . . We have differences of opinion here, and the only way we can intelligently debate is if we can read the bill and know what it costs. Republicans believe that we should focus on reducing costs and go step by step to re-earn the trust of the American people by fixing health care in that way, starting with such ideas as permitting small businesses to pool their resources in order to offer insurance to a larger number of people.” • “It’s embarrassing to say to people outside of Washington, and maybe to people inside Washington, that the Senate majority won’t allow 72 hours to read a 2,000-page bill that spends $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion and will affect virtually everyone in America.” • “The other day the chairmen of the National Governors Association and Republican Governors Association held a joint press conference, and they said this: ‘If you’re going to expand Medicaid in our state, if the federal government’s going to do it, the federal government ought to pay for it.’” • “I’ve thought for some time that any senator who votes to expand Medicaid in the states without paying for it at the federal level ought to be sentenced to go home and serve as governor for eight years to try to pay for it, raise taxes and manage the program. Democratic as well as Republican governors are all saying, ‘Don’t do this to us. Our state revenues are down 17, 18, 20, 35 percent. If you’re going to pass it, pay for it.’ That’s a question that governors should have a chance to ask and get an answer for and that’s why we need to read the bill.”