tv Today in Washington CSPAN December 24, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST
>> major general davide÷ petraes tended to do his own thing on the ground to the greatest degree possible and showed me how intangibles -- alan intelligent independent general could produce an effect in the mosul region which was positive. others were more pork -- forceful in their military approach and in less resourceful in fighting money to feed into
the local community. there was a sense of dissatisfaction in the whole area. i do not think there was a strategic change in november but there were adjustments to tactics and there were failures of the administrator to accept the wise advice of his regional commanders to do things rolla differently which are regarded as a pity but that's the way i would say it. >> i was thinking of what became apparent after november -- the move to elections the next year in the sense that the cba's days were numbered and their ability to carry on with momentum to take the lead in running the country almost became a lame duck as 2004 started. >> i think adjustments were made
after the november 15 agreement. at theç+ time, ambassador bremer had a decision from washington as to what the and overtime would be with discussion with the united kingdom. at the end of june, 2004, it was decided upon. that meant that the lead out time had to be planned and a more definite way. ambassador bremer was clear that there should not be local elections because that would interfere with the process of the national elections he was trying to plan and the agreement on the transitional administrative law. the industry is had done good work to get democracy going in the localities which i and others felt or conducive to the way we wanted iraq to go. that was brought to a halt by
the change of tactics in designing up to june, 2004. yes, that was true. >> he felt that this meant "a lot of good work that was under way lost momentum at that point, concerning that. >> yes, and you also heard from sir hillary in his desperate search for resources. he knew he needed to do but didn't have the resources to do it. i wasn't asked by london to do that because i thought london was beating resources to the south. i asked the occasional question about whether more than 2% of the overall american resources should go into this very important region in the south.
a bit of money started flowing to this out but not much more than that. there was still that separation in the american mind between the british area and the rest of iraq. >> this illustrates the whole problem. the british ferry was dependent still on american resources because we did not have sufficient resources ourselves to do what was necessary we had not restricted iresourced it sufficiently. you're not in a position as a joint administrator to say that's where it should go. it had to be done in this roundabout way from basura to washington and back to baghdad? >> yes, i was not in a position
to do that. ambassador bremer had been to congress and had got $18.7 billion out of the washington system and it was his job to -- very little of that was dispersed during the coalition. . period. he was feeding money into the north, the center and the northeast rather than into the south. perhaps, there is some things we have not gone into. maybe this would be a matter for private discussion. ike leggett is worth bringing out in the public discussions -- i think it is worth bringing out in the public discussions -- but in october, 2003, the whole effort in iraq will be won or lost in the center. i saw london as being very
concentrated on their particular responsibilities in the southeast. that was what the wednesday morning meeting that the chiefs of staff talked about. that is what the direct ad hoc committee talked about. i made the point to ministers that they need to pay more attention as to what was happening in the center and remember that although they had appointed me to represent the u.k. interest in the center and although we have the% of the responsibility, if we put into% of the resources to the all of iraq, i could not have 50% of people went on the ground for it was likely to have something closer to 5% of the influence because money means influence. quantity means influence with the americans as much as argument or position of first allah. >> how much of that you think was understood.
when you sent it back in october and then left in march? >> i was personally never satisfied that london focused enough on the center. we had excellent major generals as number 2 to the major military commander in baghdad. we had good advisers to him and to me. but we did not have the weight or the resources to offer to the americans for the hall of by iraq to catch their attention when we had disagreements in policy. one of which was the putting down of evito over the disbanding of the public economy in iraq under tom foley. who was responsible for the economic situation in
baghdad. that would create too much unemployment as a difficult period in iraq. that was the only formal veto that i put down. on the whole, we've always had to get our arguments for a constant reiteration by working different parts of the system by going to the iraqis and influencing them rather than anything top down. thank you. >> market -- -- martin -- >> you felt we were not bring in enough resources. not enough in police training, not enough into the center, where was the blockage? why was the british, not producing enough results? >> it goes back to more than the
british. the most basic error that was made in the whole planning for the post-conflict phase in iraq was not to upset the american military, the mission, of administering iraq after the war was over. in my view, general tommy franks was given the long mission to invade iraq, get rid of the saddam hussein and her turn it over to the minister is bridge he should have been given the mission of getting rid of saddam,'s of fighting iraq, making sure that iraq was a secure military area and then handing over to civilian administrators. there was an under-resources and of the mission from the very
beginning. london was not in the position or did not question that setting up missions. control of the security situation was lost from the earliest days after april 9 and was never recovered. you cannot do a political process or an economic process without security. in addition to that, as far as the political process was concerned, no iraqi leadership was identified in reality and with justification as being the leadership to which we would hand over in the face four. . phase four perios. london was not sufficiently consulted on the setting of
missions, on the change from oha to the cpa, from, to baghdad. and the setting up resources for the whole test. we were always, by experience in iraq, from history and in the nature of the british, more pessimistic about what was going to happen then were the americans. we never got the americans to understand that in the post- conflict area, they were taken on a more difficult mission than the invasion itself. that lay behind her absence of resources. you then have to add to that the reluctance of many government and every government in this country to spend resources when they do not necessarily see the proof of them being needed. it is in the nature of democracy
to under-resource and not to preempt and not to ensure because the treasury will always argue against that. it is too expensive. as it happened, iraq became more expensive because we did not do those things because we did not in short, we carry our own insurance and it was very expensive. it was in the nature of the british regime not to cover every eventuality because fundamentally it was on a portable. -- it was unaffordable. but >> so in the end, we'd supplied the end but not the means? >> correct. >> at the outset, you say that we were not consulted, were not sufficiently consulted. was that because at the highest levels we were not being assertive enough in putting forward our point of view and demanding to be consulted and is
more pessimistic assessment that we have? >> no, it is more complex than that. in the american view, we were very welcome and a very capable partner but we were very low quantity. i would not say junior partner but we were a low-quantity partner. the pentagon was planning for this in the way that they did plan on the assumption that the united states might be the only country executing this plan to invade iraq and get rid of saddam hussein. you remember that secretary rumsfeld said in january or february, 2003, that we will go and do this whether or not the british are with us. they were planning to do all thing, if necessary, whether or not they have allies.
it is in the american frame of mind to do things on the basis of american decisionmaking, american resources, american self-reliance with other partners being very welcome to add things where they can but is mainly being an american enterprise -- >> if i could interrupt you. when the british government took the decision in different military options it was presented with to go for the largest, including a division level land force, a strong part of the argumentation was that this would give us a significant influence over the way the operation was conducted. do you think that london failed to appreciate that despite that decision that we were a low- quantity partner, did you think we re -- did they think that we were a high-quantity part
because of that? >> no, they would have to rely on good american decisionmaking and resource allocation to get this thing done well. in british terms, it was an enormous expedition, military expeditionary force to be sent to iraq to win one part of the country and hold that part of the country and if you look at the record of what we did in the southeast, we eventually did it very confidently up to a certain point in time until our supplies ran out in iraq. it was a well executed job that the british did in the southeast. but in doing that job in the southeast, we added very little to what the coalition as a whole is doing in the rest of iraq. >> it did not give us the big influence that we hoped it was going to give us? >> it gives the employees to
make our own decisions in the southeast and to be relied upon by the americans to do that properly but it did not give us the weight of zero boys in baghdad for the whole administration of iraq -- the voice in baghdad for the whole administration of iraq. >> you said that ambassador bremer did not show you the icrc report on abu ghraib when it was sent to him and you said there was a lot of american material that you never saw. to what extent did ambassador bremer keeping fully briefed on what he was up to? >> he did not keep me fully briefed. he never intended that. the non-americans in the cpa and
quite a few of the americans, did not see anything of the american spending of money and budget allocations gori we were not consulted on the budget allocations that bremer and others prepared for the spending of american and iraqi money in iraq. we did not seek anything whatsoever in the oil sector. they kept that very closely american because they wanted to run the oil sector. there were australians and poles and others at senior levels who were advising them on some aspects of this but no americans were taken into the american confidence on the spending of money and the management of the oil sector in iraq. those are two of the purest examples of how partial the partnership was on the ground with the americans. >> why were they seeking to have
this control of the oil sector? >> i think they felt that they understood the oil sector. they brought in american oil executives to invite them on this and run that part cpa. they knew that management of the oil sector would be vital to the supply of finance into the iraqi system and wanted to be responsible for it themselves. there might have been a minor ankle of thinking that they wanted access to the contracts that might come out of the oil sector and the iraqi economy at a subsequent period but the americans were doing 95% of the work and putting in 95% of the money. i would not like to say that they were not justified in
taking that approach. >> would you regard this as a minor aspect of this? >> the americans had no intention to take over and on the oil sector. that was always a canard in public criticism terms of what the invasion was about. it was not about oil. i think they just felt this was such an important area that they would run it themselves. they ran the replacement of the currency with immense confidence and efficiency, run by an american with one brett on board -- brit on board with the team. >> in your contacts with british and american military commanders, did you feel at the time you were there that they would have liked to have had substantially more troops on the carry out the task they were big -- being expected
to carry out? >> yes, they were always under- resourced and ambassador bremer has spoken in public since that time that he himself asked for a larger number of troops in the summer of 2003. military commanders were always stretched. it was clear to them about the borders were open and they did not have the troops to guard the ammunition dumps which have more than 1 million tons of military explosives, and ammunition in them. there were not able to police the streets. they were assuming that the iraqis would do a lot of this themselves with in the event that it was a misplaced assumption. they realized how short of boots on the ground they had.
>> the outgoing chairman had warned the senate in february of that year that they were going to make hundreds of thousands of people to deal with the task after the event. he had been a rubbished at the time for saying this? >> he thought a half a million troops would be necessary for the post-conflict and depurate secretary wolfowitz said that was ridiculous. >> if you have been asked in september of 2003 which of the two or write? >> it was my view throughout this that more troops should have been allocated from the beginning. >> time is about to run out. we have benefited enormously from two rounds of testimony
from a like to ask two questions about your overall view. throughout the whole process in which you were involved, do you feel that the united kingdom had a significant impact on the process of policy formation in the united states towards iraq? you have talked about one specific set out vetoes looking at it in a broader sense, did we succeed in influencing it? >> yes, we influenced it in certain detailed ways but that cannot hide the fact that we were uncomfortable about the low level of planning for the post- conflict period, had worries abou under-resourceing, and sometimes were not given an opportunity to explain to the americans why we thought it should be done differently. in that very major respect, i
think our influence was too low but it was too low for the reason that we were a minor partner, in resource terms. >> finally, you were there in the period where you described it as a catastrophic success of winning the war so quickly. and we were paying the price or the -- of the failure of and we were essentially making it up as we went along in a very different environment than we expected. you draw a number of important lessons and we are on the are there any other lessons for future policy making that you would draw from the whole of iraq experience? >> i think there are a number of lessons. the full range of them will probably need another session.
there are two in particular -- one is to regard the aftermath as just as important a mission as the military action. secondly, to put security first because nothing can be done in the political and economic sphere without security. third, to seek as wide as possible and international influence into an international operation of this kind with the legitimacy that would lead to that and which flows from that. and fourthly, to be much more aware of where the gaps are and where the limitations will be and try to address those early in security, political resource, economic and other terms before you begin. this was clearly to rest and
exercise -- too rushed an exercise on the ground which some people had been predicting would be as difficult as it was. to have this degree of mismatch is something that has to be avoided in the future. >> thank you. >> thank-you, sir jeremy. i think this has given you the opportunity to make a final observations for the session. there may be more to say. with that, can i say one thing for the record? i think you used the term "third role?" can you explain what that is? >>an fco section was composed of the head of that section, the deputy head of that section and the third room which was the engine room where the bureaucracy gets done. >> thank you.
we thank you and to all of those who have attended throughout this morning. can i close this session? the next hearing will start at 2:00 this afternoon when we will be hearing from lieutenant general william rollo and lieutenant general cooper. they both commanded and they had a senior role in baghdad later on. in the course of this morning, we heard about the united kingdom triangle. we shall be hearing about that tomorrow afternoon. that is a trailer for the afternoon session tomorrow. that concludes this morning's session. i would like to say that i interrupted the broadcast briefly this morning because there was a mention of sensitive information as it is defined in our published protocols so we
had to enter a briefly, thank you. >> cspan, christmas day, a look ahead to 2010 politics including republican congressman edward kantor. buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on the legacy of apollo 11, a discussion on a roll of muslims in america and the world. later, a former cia intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. starting in o'clock p.m. eastern, remembering the laws of william f. buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. host: caller: ♪ host: caller:[cy national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] "washington journal" is already special time and after that we will give you a coverage on the blog senate vote.
we will have analysis on the senate health care about. later, we will talk to a lieutenant-general about the wounded warrior program for veterans. host: welcome to "washington journal." in 50 minutes, the senate will gaveling to session and in 30 minutes they will vote on final passage of their aid hundred $71 billion health care reform bill. this is a key milestone in a months-long health care debate that has dominated capitol hill. senate democrats are, they have the votes to pass this legislation, giving president barack obama an important victory on this christmas a pretty road to health care reform does not end here. the senate bill will need to be reconciled with the house version which was passed on
november 7 and there are key differences between the two bills. you can watch the senate bill in its entirety on our sister network, cspan 2. this morning, we want to know what you think about congressional efforts to reform health care. the numbers are on your screen ]zqjoining us on the russell ofe building rotunda, walk us through what will happen to that. guest: this is final passage. they will get out there and bvote on the health care bill are when it comes to a conference report a few months
ago, that will be different. the senate will pass the bill, this is it. many of us have been doing this for a year and this is a momentous occasion great host: is this as momentous as november 7 in the house? guest: this is bigger. this has been about the struggle to get to 60, the dealmaking, finding the balance between the conservatives and liberals and the democratic caucus searching for a long time for a republican but that they were never able to get and are certainly not going to get this morning. host: vice president joe biden is arriving. he will be presiding. you can see his motorcade arriving on capitol hill. go ahead and finish as we watch him a ride. guest: they are bringing him in for this big boat and the rare case of a tie, the vice- president who will be presiding,
and cast the deciding vote that would give 101 votes in the senate and he would be number 51. i don't think we are expecting any protest votes at this point from the liberal democrats. there was discussion that the liberal democrats or conservative democrats would cast a protest vote against the bill but i don't think that will be really happening. host: how many votes are needed for passage of this bill? guest: all passage votes are 51. we talk about 60 which is a procedural vote and that is to end filibusters. that is the big men remember we have been looking at previous to this. we will look at that once more in january or february for a conference report. host: do you know of many senators who will not be here this morning? guest: there has been talked to some of the republicans may not show up. there has been a joke about how
long we would be here will depend on who won the battle between the senate republican wives and the various conservative supporters of the senate republicans, some of the tea party protest reported where boating at 7:00 a.m. instead of 7:00 p.m.. host: after today, then what happens? guest: the senate and house have two very different bills and will go into a conference process where they will pick a few negotiators from each chamber and then those folks will go into a room and start working out a deal, a compromise bill that they can both support. they are close on a lot of issues but on a few like the public plan, how the bill raises revenue, they are very far apart. that will take some time to work out. senator dodd just walked up
behind your cameras. he will almost certainly be in the conference. host: is this a full conference committee? guest: many folks are pushing for one. i think what we will see over the next few weeks is that staff will get together immediately after the hollies and start negotiating with house and senate staff to work out the easier issues and figure out what the hard stuff is. their bosses will come back before recess is over and those folks will be working. the conference may well happen but it may be more of a formality where they put their signatures on deals that have been worked out behind closed doors. host: thank you for getting up and joining us in the cold early on christmas eve. we want to take a few of your calls we will dip into the senate to show you some action. you can watch the entire thing starting at 6:45 on c-span 2.
oklahoma is first on the telephone. caller: when you look at some of these senators, they act as if they didn't care what the people want. there is talk of some of the special interests getting paper if they put money before their people, how you know they won't sell us out for some as the and not a secret. there was that mall thing that happened years ago and changed the system. it is obvious that they put money before the people. i don't know how -- i don't know how serious that is. host: we have columbus city, ohio, good morning. caller: i do support the bill
but i did want a public option. i will support the bill. i think we need it. i am 76. i enjoy medicare. host: can you tell us why you support the public option? caller: there are so many people without insurance. they are minimum wage workers and they cannot afford the premiums that are being charged right now. the public option would bring that down. host: you are 76, you're on medicare? there has been talk about cuts in medicare in the senate bill or a medicare commission to keep an eye on costs. what do you think about that aspect? caller: the cost oversight is ok but i don't go along with the fears that have been talked about. host: thank you. susan swin isain is back as
cspan. host: the centers have been asked to get early and they will be voting from their seats rather than allowing a run on the floor. laurie kellman is telling us this is the first on the senate has voted on christmas eve since 1895. that debate was on matters of employment for former confederate officers. this is an historic day for the senate, as well. the senate was originally scheduled to vote at 8:00 in a mood to 7:00 last night. there was discussion about trouble for the holidays. we are told that lawmakers are keeping their politics escape routes open. senators have one tool to make their travel better.
they can reserve multiple flights. this goes against sweeping ethics rules. does not an option open to the general public. their schedules make it hard to predict when they can leave washington. they will be at the airports but their departure is guaranteed for members of the senate today. let's get a few comments from our twitter audience. in my opinion, the level congress has worked all year long should be repeated every single year. here is another twitter comment -- we will hear from our reporter audience throughout this program. host: our next call comes from boston, mass., you oppose the bill, why is that? caller: actually, i have been a
democrat all my life but i cannot wait to go to city hall the first of the year and change to a republican or independent. this is the bill that nobody -- 75% of the american people do not even want. the way it has been passed, people in the senate did in to their constituents all these bribes. i don't know if they are brothers but anything to get the vote. i want change but this is not the change a wanted. i am so sick. i am devastated by this whole thing host: what kind of change would like? caller: i thought there be a change for the war was concerned or it is doing different things that were not done in the past administration. that is what i was hoping but none of these things have come true. we are going bankrupt. i cannot believe in my life that
we owe money to china and everybody else and all this man wants to do is spend, spend, spend. these things that he has done, putting money into the states, the unemployment is still at a drastic high. host: thank you for calling in. lexington, kentucky, you support the bill? caller: i have to be honest. i am a supporter of the public option. i have to commit that i was disappointed to see it not part of this bill. also, the medicare by in for ages 55-64, i thought one of those was sorely needed. however, i have had time to look at this bill and think. no bill, no piece of legislation is perfect.
this is a start for i hope and pray is something good for the american people it will have to be revisited. it will require a lot of work to get this where it needs to be. for those who do not support the bill, i hope they can be more mindful of the millions of americans out here who are suffering today without health coverage, not knowing what will happen to them. we need to think about our elderly, our children, our working poor, and people who are working hard to do the best they can to support their families. it is not their fault that they are facing the health crisis that they are. we need to be more compassionate as a nation and we need to pull together as a people and take care of our own. to me, that is what is best in america and that is what america is all about. merry christmas to both of you. host: merry christmas to you.
caller: "the los angeles times" has an article about how harry reid secured the bill in the end. you might be interested in going to their website and read more. they say that over the last two months, harry reid, a soft- spoken man who makes less restraint to be a -- to hear him gamble. people people back to the table when deals fell apart and he prodded his colleagues to make agonizing concessions for a larger goal. let me read the very end of this where they were down to the last few votes. "harry reid knew he had to keep joe lieberman in the tent and the next night when democrats gathered for a special caucus meeting, henry did not call him out, focusing instead on the need to unite and a corporate without the medicare by in, lieberman would be the 59th
boat. he returned to nelson who had strong demand. s. harry reid was closing in on the deal and less than 48 hours before the necessary motions had to be filed, another crisis erupted. republicans were in a full-court press to extend debate even a bad man a filibuster to the defense appropriations bill to post on health care. democrats found themselves one vote short of squashing the deal. an ardent war creek had pledged to oppose spending. harry reid was unwilling to challenge him on a vote of conscience and when democrats gathered for another special caucus meeting last thursday, harry reid was ready to concede defeat at ejected centers began to leave, feingold a rose. he vowed to vote for his party.
the next night, harry reid shook hands with ben nelson. that produced the abortion adjustment. he got a congratulatory phone call from the president. host: as drew armstrong told us this morning, this is not the end. there will be signed of reconciliation to be determined with the house bill which includes a public option parade in a few minutes, the senate will gavel in ended about 50 minutes, the senate will vote on final passage of hr 3590, the health care bill, $780 billion. we will show you bits of the boat. back to your phone calls on health care reform. middletown, delaware, you oppose the bill? caller: yes, i do.
i feel that if you're going to vote on health care issues, go to the heart of the matter. that is the extent -- spent expanding price of health care. it is way out of control in every state in this country. there is no reason for these high health care bills. the cost is more than anyone can absorb. the co-pays are off the wall. i know people who have copays of $50-$100. they need to look at best, not this foolishness they have been doing in washington. they don't care. they have their own health care and pay nothing. this is not right. the taxpayer should have a say on this, not the government, not the legislature, not the house, not the senate, not the president. nothing is being done correctly. we need to bring down the cost of the medical pricing on this thing.
prescriptions are just out of reach for most people in this country. if they do not have the money, they forgo the medications. they forgo health care because they cannot afford it. no matter what they do, even people that have it, companies are cutting back on their policies and people do not have the money to pay other things. host: let's leave it there. you can see the reverend barry black is saying the prayer for the senate this morning. victoria kennedy is in the gallery, and the visitors' gallery, watching the proceedings. the senate majority leader harry reid has requested the senators are arrive early and be in their seats to boat from their seats and it will be a very formal, official but that takes place, unlike a lot of boats in the senate where the senators kind of walk up. we will take one mor call.
you support the bill? go ahead. caller: i support the bill and it seems important that we take care of this. these reforms have been overdue. i was without health care for like four years. i have health care for for my employer now. -- through my employer now. [unintelligible] if you want to buy your own, you cannot afford it. i think it is high time we do health care overhaul. i do not like the idea of the way the republicans are doing it. they are just opposing it and not offering any ideas on how we are supposed to move forward.
i am an independent. i have in the middle. i am not for to the left but i think we have to support health care. host: thank you. host: t "the new york times." this is a piece about how important senator byrd has been. he is 92-years old and in fragile health. this is how they got the senator to the floor. insuring that he takes the place on the floor has been a preoccupation of the senate democratic leadership team. he has missed slightly more than 40% of roll-call votes. he makes a short elevator rides
to the senate floor. after reconciliation, both chambers must vote on final legislation before the president can sign that which will extend into the new year and another round of byrd-watching. he has been fragile for some years but he is always there. let me share with you one more article. they read about the deal the ben nelson secured about his agreement to boats on additional medicaid aid for his state. 10 states are now raising questions about the legality of the deal that senator ben nelson cut for his own state of nebraska attorneys general in 10 states held a conference call late on tuesday to consider how they might challenge the deal which they call federally- subsidized by in. some say it is unfair and unconstitutional.
they plan more strategizing next week pretty tense days involved are alabama, colorado, michigan, north dakota, pennsylvania, south carolina, texas, utah, virginia, and washington. host: bedford, pa., mike who opposes the bill. caller: i'm a small-business owner. i have watched this whole thing. to me, the buying of boats and the back room deals, this is not what we signed up for. by temperament. that is represented by a congressman who went from being a republican to democrat. i do not want to see my kids and grandkids suffer for this. it has been a semi-honest about it. vote. i like the medicare thing. i don't have a problem with the
public option. this is from a republican that owns a business. i have been pleased that i have to keep working and we are in the oil business. that is a tough business. host: majority leader harry reid is speaking from the senate floor. >> this place would not run as well without her working with the secretary of the minority and his entire group. they are wonderful people to work with even though sometimes this place becomes very partisan, the worked on lela davis is never partisan. finally, mr. president, i want to say a word about the people who work in the cloak rooms. they are the people who are unseen and instrumental to the operation of the senate. i have to say, mr. president, with a lot of pride, having been one of them, how much i
appreciate and acknowledge the attention and the protection of the capitol police. host:the vote is about 10 minutes away. you could watch the entire thing on c-span 2. here, we want to get your reaction on the senate voting on health care reform. oklahoma, you support the bill, go ahead caller: yes, very much i have run a family business for 39 years and one of the hardest years in that time is to have health insurance for my family. the pre-existing conditions and everything like that, i am glad they are getting this taken care of.
i know there is a lot of people that oppose this bill but i have never seen anything start at the top. you always start at the bottom and work up. there has been so many negative things said about this bill that were not true that i don't understand why washington and the people we have up there cannot get along great if they could just delhomme and stop this-output to -- if they could just get along and stop this negative outlook, things would go better. host: what are you supportive of in this legislation? caller: i like the pre-existing conditions. i hope we get a public option. it will go into the house and i will follow this thing. i do hope that our senators hold out and we can receive a public option.
i also believe that insurance companies and everybody that does a public service to people, i don't think they should be able to contribute any funds to people running for high office like this. host: republican leader mitch mcconnell is now on the senate floor speaking. >> otherwise, they would not rush it through congress on christmas eve. the first time this body has had a vote on the day before christmas was in more than a century. this was supposed to produce a bill to help health care in america. instead, we are left with party- line votes in the middle of the night, a couple of sweetheart deals to get it over the finish line and a truly outraged public. a problem they were told would be fixed was not.
i guarantee you that people who voted for this bill will get in your faan earful when they get r the first time since thanksgiving. they know there is widespread opposition to this monstrosity. i want to assure you, mr. president, this fight is not over. despite his long from over. my colleagues will stop this bill from becoming law. that is the clear will of the american people and we will continue to fight on their behalf. host: let's tell you about some of the statistics about the senate debate on health care. in looking over the breadth of the debate from september 20, so far, the senate has logged 165.5 hours and 95 senators have spoken on the legislation.
those senators have spoken most often, senator max baucus, senator john mccain, dick durbin, and lamar alexander and finally tom coburn. senators who have spoken along this on this -- senator max baucus has logged eight hours and 20 minutes. senator charles grassley has logged seven hours, 52 minutes. senator dick durbin, 7 hours 53 minutes. host: linda in bethesda, maryland, you are opposed to the senate health care bill, why? caller: good morning. i apologize for my laryngitis. i feel that this bill will eventually kill of innovation in
medical research in the united states once we go down this slippery slope. the government will pay for more and more. we already know that nih grants are down. doctors and people considering going to health care, the bright ones will not go in because all the market incentives will be gone very medical schools are very expensive and i see this as a slippery slope into a government run health care eventually because that is what legislation does once you get it done. host: what kind of health care do you have? caller: have healthcare with an employer. i am happy with it but under this bill, our health care will be very much tact. we will be paying extra tax. we already pay a lot of tax. host: it is a -- is a so-called cadillac plan?
caller: no, but because of what is being put in their in this bill as i understand it, many people who have anything that is a good health care plan will have to pay taxes on the health care they are receiving. the only thing standing between us and this socialized medicine which will come down the road once this is passed, in my opinion, to stand there is now on the floor, i know they have cspan on their offices and they have a skeleton crew this morning but they need to start talking and they need to disrupt the floor. they need to be a the way democrats do and not let the boat to take place if it takes the whole day. they need to disrupt by a filibuster. host: the vote is about to start and we will dip in when it happens. you can watch all the on c-span 2. president barack obama is due to come out and speak after t