Republican Senators Called for Delaying Health Care Votes Until Scott Brown Was Seated, And Senate Democrats Agreed
When voters flipped a long-time Democratic seat in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts, the next steps were clear: Republicans demanded a delay in important legislation until the will of the voters could be heard and Democrats agreed.
Last night, in the overwhelmingly Republican state of Alabama, the will of the people was heard when they flipped a long-time Republican seat in favor of a Democrat, Senator-elect Doug Jones..
Will Republicans be so anxious to pass their sneaky health care repeal and give their donors a Christmas present that they’ll over rule the vote that just took place, or will they follow precedent, process and regular order and delay a vote on this tax scam until the people of Alabama can be heard?
HERE IS WHAT REPUBLICANS WERE SAYING…
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I Think That Means There Will Be No More Health Care Votes In The Senate Prior To The Swearing In Of Scott Brown, Whenever That May Be.” “‘I think the message of the moment is that the American people, all across the country, are asking us, even in the most liberal state, Massachusetts, to stop this healthcare bill,’ McConnell said. ‘I think that means there will be no more health care votes in the Senate prior to the swearing in of Scott Brown, whenever that may be,’ the top Senate Republican added.” [The Hill, 1/20/10]
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I Think The Majority Has Gotten The Message: No More Gamesmanship Here, No More Lack Of Transparency.” “I think the majority has gotten the message: no more gamesmanship here, no more lack of transparency, let’s honor the wishes of the people of Massachusetts and move forward with policy.” [Politico, 1/20/10]
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “The People Of Massachusetts Have Spoken For The Rest Of America: Stop This Process, Sit Down In Open And Transparent Negotiations, And Let’s Begin From The Beginning.” “So here we are, and now the rumors are that they will jam this proposal through the House of Representatives and then bypass what has always been the normal legislative process. They should not do that. The American people have spoken. The people of Massachusetts have spoken for the rest of America: Stop this process, sit down in open and transparent negotiations, and let’s begin from the beginning.” [Sen. McCain Floor Speech, 1/20/10]
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “Brown’s Election Also Reflects ‘The Fact That So Many People Are Appalled At The Process By Which The Health Care Bill Was Negotiated Behind Closed Doors, Rammed Through The Senate With Limited Debate And Amendments, And Riddled With Special Deals To Garner Votes.’” “Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Brown’s victory ‘is an indication that voters in Massachusetts, indeed a majority of Americans, do not support unfettered, one-party rule in Washington.’ Brown’s election also reflects ‘the fact that so many people are appalled at the process by which the health care bill was negotiated behind closed doors, rammed through the Senate with limited debate and amendments, and riddled with special deals to garner votes,’ Collins said in a statement issued Tuesday evening.” [Bangor Daily News, 1/20/10]
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “Collins Said Congress And The White House Should ‘Start From Scratch’” After Scott Brown’s Election. “Collins said Congress and the White House should ‘start from scratch’ and draft a new health care bill that would reduce health care costs and include provisions such as insurance market reforms, the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, and tax breaks for small businesses.” [Bangor Daily News, 1/20/10]
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “I Hope That This Will Usher In A New Era Of Transparency And Willingness To Work Together Rather Than Sort Of Special Sweetheart Deals Cut Behind Closed Doors.” “And so I hope that this will usher in a new era of transparency and willingness to work together rather than sort of special sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors that cause so much concern in the health care bill and elsewhere. And let me just say that the health care bill is a very important part of what was debated and decided yesterday in this election, but it’s not all that was decided. The American people sent a very clear message through the voters of Massachusetts of their concern about the spending and the debt and the government intervention in their lives in ways that limits their freedoms and opportunities in the future of their children and grandchildren.” [Press Conference, 1/20/10]
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): We Should “Work Together, Step By Step, To Re-Earn The Trust Of The American People.” “Now that the people have spoken in Massachusetts, we should abandon these arrogant notions of trying to turn our entire health care system upside down all at once and, instead, set a clear goal of reducing health care costs and then work together, step by step, to re-earn the trust of the American people–an approach Republican Senators urged exactly 173 different times on the floor of the Senate during last year.” [Floor Remarks, 1/20/10]
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “With The Election Results In A State Like Massachusetts, I Hope My Colleagues On The Other Side Of The Aisle Will Be Convinced To Go Back To The Drawing Board.” “With the election results in a state like Massachusetts, I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will be convinced to go back to the drawing board on the issue of health care reform.” [Press Release, 1/19/10]
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “This Is The Result Of A Bill Done Behind Closed Doors.” “‘This is the result of a bill done behind closed doors,’ Graham said, adding 111,000 South Carolina seniors have Advantage plans. ‘We cannot take away Medicare Advantage for 49 states and give it to one because you want his vote.’ Meanwhile, Graham said the Obama administration tried to push a bill through that isn’t bipartisan and that the Massachusetts race illustrates the nation’s desire to go back to the drawing board on reform. He issued a warning that any effort to pass a bill through the Senate will result in ‘holy hell.’ ‘It will be almost impossible for us to work together on other matters there are very important to the country,’ he said.” [Greenville News, 1/18/10]
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “I Think It Is Almost An Indication That There Ought To Be Some Pause And To Step Back And Review What’s Been Going On For The Last Year.” “‘I think it is almost an indication that there ought to be some pause and to step back and review what’s been going on for the last year,’ Grassley said during his weekly telephone news conference. ‘And then, after that pause, if there’s a decision to go ahead, obviously that decision’s going to be on a bipartisan basis.’” [Daily Nonpareil, 1/21/10]
Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “The Democrats’ Partisan, Back-Room Approach To Writing A Health Care Bill Has … Been Thoroughly Rejected, As Last Night’s Results Make Clear.” “The Democrats’ partisan, back-room approach to writing a health care bill has … been thoroughly rejected, as last night’s results make clear,” Thune said in a statement. “It is now time to start over on a bipartisan approach and find solutions to lowering costs and improving care.” [Capital Journal, 1/20/17]
…AND SENATE DEMOCRATS AGREED NOT TO TAKE ANY FURTHER ACTION UNTIL BROWN WAS SEATED
Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “We’re Going To Wait Until The New Senator Arrives Until We Do Anything More On Health Care.” “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that there is no firm commitment for Democrats to rush a health care bill through Congress this year. ‘First of all, we’re not going to rush into anything,’ he said. ‘We’re going to wait until the new senator arrives until we do anything more on health care.’” [Politico, 1/20/10]
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA): “I Believe It Would Only Be Fair And Prudent That We Suspend Further Votes On Health Care Legislation Until Senator-Elect Brown Is Seated.” “In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.” [Sen. Webb Statement, 1/19/10]