December 17th, 2009
09:01 AM ET
6 months ago

The other Independent who could sink health care

Sanders said he may vote against the Democrats' health care bill.
Sanders said he may vote against the Democrats' health care bill.

Washington (CNN) -  There's been a ton of liberal  anger this week focused on Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman - who those on the left considered the main obstacle to the Democrats' efforts to pass a health care reform bill in the Senate by Christmas.

But now, an Independent senator from the progressive side of the Democrats' coalition could threaten passage of a reform bill.

Bernie Sanders of Vermont says he may vote against the legislation. The Independent from Vermont, who like the moderate Lieberman caucuses with the chamber's 58 Democrats to give the party a 60 seat filibuster-proof majority, says he has major problems with the bill.

"I have made it clear that, at this point, it is not for sure that I will vote for that bill unless it becomes significantly better," the first-term senator and former socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Wednesday evening.

Sanders, who favors a single payer health care system, explained to Blitzer why he has problems with the current bill in the Senate: "Right now, with the withdrawal of the public option, what that means is that the private insurance companies are not going to have any competition. And they are going to be able, it seems to me, to be able other continue to raise their rates as high as they want, which is what they have been doing for many years. So, what I am right now doing is working with the White House, working with the Democratic leadership to try to make this bill as strong as I can."

Following his interview with CNN, Sanders appeared to go bit further in his opposition, telling Fox Business Network that "as of this point I am not voting for the bill."

Earlier Wednesday, Sanders withdrew from consideration his  amendment that called for a single-payer healthcare system after Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma forced the entire 767 page measure to be read aloud in the chamber, in a move to stall and defeat the Democrats health care reforms.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Bob from Colorado

    Senator Sanders seems to be the only one to not be swayed by the charms and pleas of the President. – Senator Sanders truly cares about what he puts his name on and for the average guy and not what the President secretly negotiated behind closed doors with the insurance and drug industries – Not allowing the importation of drugs was the final straw with me. I was an ardent Obama fan but now I question what he trying to pull off.

    December 17, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    I have decided that each time a Congressional liberal, a Congressional moderate, or a Congressional conservative points fingers at their opposition, thus continuing the blame game, I will set aside $1 in what is now an empty coffee can.

    With over 100 bills now stalled in the Senate, I should by winters end have a tidy nest egg with which to spend as I please.

    December 17, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Allison

    Everybody want to the be the "most important". Starting to look like clowns......well, they are clowns.

    December 17, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Half a loaf is better than none... , BUT>>> I think we should try for the bill we NEED (single payer/public option) with reconciliation before we settle for bending to the will of the extremes.
    MAKE A WAY for them to get on board.
    To ALL who CLAIM to represent us:

    Is your reelection more important to you than the people who sent you?
    Isn't this your greatest chance to do the most for the working men and women (and their families) in this country?
    Isn't this a PIVOTAL moment in out nation's history?
    With the understanding that the Greatest Country On The Planet will still be dead last in the line to recognize the need for health CARE over corporate profit, Isn't it PAST time to get this done?

    December 17, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. susanj

    Kill the bill Senator – it stinks. No reform without a public option. Senator Sanders you will be my hero! Lieberman is a total disgrace. I hope the people in Connecticut get rid of him.

    December 17, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Keith in Austin

    CNN: I find the title of this story quite amuzing. "THE OTHER INDEPENDANT WHO COULD SINK HEALTHCARE"

    The truth of the matter is that over 60 percent of Americans believe that it is Government Takeover that will kill healthcare! My view is that ANY politician voting against Obozocare in it's present form is SAVING our Healthcare System from the beurocratic mess that Big Barry Government will make!

    December 17, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Nice picture. Put a goatee on him and he becomes V. I. Lenin.

    December 17, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. tjaman

    Y'know what? I have a lot fewer problems with someone's lack of support for a bad bill than I have for those actively engaged in making it worse. Good on you, Sen. Sanders. :)

    December 17, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Democrat in MD (CNN please post. Thank you!)

    Where's the beef, Bernie? What's your problem with the bill?? Just another LIEberman looking for the spotlight!!!

    December 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Progressive from Georgia

    Go Bernie Go! We need to counterbalance the negative influences of Traitor Joe and his sell out to the health insurance industry. We also need Bernie to stand up the White House and its lukewarm policies that are selling the American people short on health care reform.

    December 17, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Ron

    GO Bernie!!! We need more democrats to grow a backbone and fight for the public option.

    December 17, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Jack

    Bernie isn't dashing a public option and the 55 buy-in on the rocks, that's the big difference here. Down with Joe, up with Bernie.

    December 17, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Peter M

    Sounds to me like he'd vote for it anyway. I hope he realizes that something is better than nothing and that until our legislative branch becomes less partisan, nothing important will ever get done, just meaningless and pork barrel legislation.

    December 17, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Bernie Sanders is crazy–socialists generally are–but if he can throw a monkey-wrench into the Democrats health-care welfare idiocy, great.

    December 17, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. New Age Independent

    Radical Liberals would have people believe that it's the Republicans that are the reason that a health care reform bill hasn't been passed. That idea, although perhaps partially correct, isn't the number one reason.

    The truth is that the fault lies with the Democrats.
    A reform bill would have been passed long ago if it weren't for the radicals who want control over a third of our economy by owning health care with their so called "public option".

    They've recently shown their "hand" by voting down the pharmacy bill which would allow drugs from outside the country from reliable sources. Why? Pharmaceutical companies have made a deal with the Democrats to support their health plan and they don't like the pharmacy bill.

    The bill could have saved US Citizens billions of dollars, but Democrats don't want that. They want the blood money from the Pharmaceuticals instead.

    December 17, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Cindy Merrill

    How to lower Healthcare cost AND create millions of good decent jobs:
    1. Expand Meals On Wheels to all rural communities
    2. Increase SNAP food credit for low income Americans on Doctor ordered restricted diets and food allergies
    3. Provide shelf stable low glycemic/low sodium food to VA healthcare clinics, Salvation army senior centers, as well as other healthcare clinics that serve low income clients. These items would also be sold at Goodwill, for a minimum fee to cover shipping and handling.
    4. Every state would allow a taxbreak for Healthclub membership
    If Obama wanted to, he could sign an executive order and this four step action plan would get started before February,2010: : MILLIONS of decent, permanent jobs would be created, nationwide! Best of all, healthcare costs would drop,because of better nutrition and exercise- therefore; this makes my 4 step program better than anything Congress has come up with.

    December 17, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Black Viper

    This country is doomed. Too many ignorants people cheerig Corrupted politicians looking for their self interest instead of the interest of the people they suppose to represent.
    Corruption is at every level of governement. Don't tell me afghanistan is the most corrupt country in the world it's AMERICA.
    The bankers and the insurance cartel becoming the Holly Lord everybody has to bend to in order to survive.
    One CEO being paid 1000 times more than the salary of the combined people he employes
    We become slaves of a small minority of Super Rich people continuing to Use us day and night and they have some OLD POWER HUNGRY politicians in their pocket to do what they want.
    What happen to the freedom liberty our founding fathers faught for with their life?

    December 17, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. S Callahan God help America!

    This plan is so barrabled..and so far from what 'the people' want..I say scarp it...begin anew....you have a framework.....so what if one waits a year.....people are not against nationalized health insurance...they are against the poloarizing corporates whose greedy metal fingers are in there..and the slim politicians who surely have no 'heard' their district constitutents but dined with the industry.....I say..many say...begin ANEW!

    December 17, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. LacrosseMom

    45,000 Americas die every year from lack of healthcare. Millions of others are denied coverage because of preexisting conditions.

    99% (excluding the wealthiest 1%) of Americans are one medical crisis away from bankruptcy.

    No one in the wealthiest nation on Earth should die or suffer because they can not afford Healthcare.

    The conservatives need to read the Gospels of Jesus Christ!

    December 17, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Jim in Philadelphia

    I would vote for Bernie Sanders. As an avid Democrat who voted for President Obama, I am EXTREMELY disappointed in our president. I vote to let the health care issue go down the tubes.

    December 17, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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