By Bridget Johnson - 11/22/09 02:30 PM EST
Republican senators went on the offensive against the Democratic healthcare initiative the morning after the bill moved forward on a procedural vote, blasting the bill as a job-killer and mechanism of "excessive government control."
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) called the $848 billion healthcare reform package "something Bernie Madoff would really envy," saying that savings would not be realized as touted.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), also on "Fox News Sunday," said that the GOP's goal would be to "let the American people know what [the bill] does for them and to them," citing the "medical ghetto" of Medicaid that would be expanded.
"And we think if the American people know that, the bill will collapse of its own weight," he said. "And we can get then started on going step by step toward reducing costs, which is what we've been trying to do."
The senator expanded into economic talking points. "The best thing to do for jobs is to defeat the healthcare bill," Alexander said.
On the Democratic side, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Arlen Specter (Pa.) stressed coverage for women under the bill and the backing of the AARP, respectively.
Stabenow expressed confidence that her party would come together for the final vote despite differences on components of the legislation. "We all agree that the status quo is not working," she said.
"We're working on a number of options that will bring us together."
She panned the idea of an amendment restricting abortion funding under a health insurance exchange, though Bond predicted that the Stupak amendment will either pass in the Senate or get a good shot.
"The real issue is whether we're going to have governance here," Specter said, noting that a commission similar to that which closes military bases would examine ways to cut costs in Medicare, "taking it out of the hands of Congress with no political will."
Alexander said that when it comes to the post-Thanksgiving process of debate and amendments, the GOP would consider amendments on a case-by-case basis.
"If you expect Mitch McConnell to roll in a wheelbarrow with a Republican 2,000-page bill, it's not going to happen," Alexander said.
On CNN's "State of the Union," the Senate minority leader promised "an extensive debate" that would be unlike that in House.
"We don't often ignore the wishes of the American people," McConnell (R-Ky.) said, noting "it's hard to handicap" the outcome.
Jordan Fabian contributed to this report