December 17th, 2009
09:01 AM ET
11 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. Sniffit

    What is it with the Vermont peple? First Dean now Sanders. We have long suspected bigotry in the representatives from that state (remember Dean's problem where he had no minorities on his staff?)

    Do they really want to sink the President that badly?

    December 17, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. JA/TN

    let's check his health insurance, I sure it is susidized by taxpayers that can't afford insurance for themselves

    December 17, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. L.Johnston

    I am all for health care reform-but I think what the "democrats" are doing is apalling. They are going to try and rush this through . I believe the president wants to sign anything by year end to put a tick mark
    on his list of accomplishments(campaign promises). It showed me when he invited the dems to the white house. I believe dems and republicans represent America and this is not an issue to be resolved quickly. As Obama has said no other president got this done, that's because it is challenging, this is peoples lives. I certainlly hope they take a step back and do this right.

    December 17, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  4. T'SAH from Virginia

    I think this was PLANNED from the beginning!!! SLEEZYman and now this OTHER traitor knew all along that they had NO intentions of passing the bill. NOW, add Dean to the mix and this project is DEAD!!!

    I am a DEMOCRAT and I am now SICK of this whole thing!!! This is why the approval rating for this bill is SINKING!!! Without the Public Option, it will be all of the SAME – High Cost and NO Competition!! So, FORGET IT!!

    President Obama just proved that WASHINGTON still wants to do business as usual and NO ONE – mainly the Democrats, are For MY People!!!

    The MEDIA had their field day and also played a MAJOR role in the downfall – patronizing the FAR RIGHT WING NUTS and making it seem as if they SPEAK for EVERYONE – They don’t!!!

    Democrats WILL suffer in 2010 and 2012 because they have NO BACKBONE!!!! WUSSIES!!!! But the REPUKES will fail too because they are about NO and their intentions are CLEAR also!!!!

    December 17, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. Gary

    While I disagree with his reasons, I am happy to see more delays. To rush something this big through our political process is just irresponsible. If people would take the time to see what they will be getting and the cost burden that comes with it, I am sure public opinion can stop this process far short of what was proposed. If they think they can save money by cutting waiste, prove it. Show us first. Maybe consider tort reform and deny any congressman who is a lawyer a vote since it is a conflict of interest for them. Fully fund Medicare and Medicaid before you tell me we can afford this. They have made too many deals with too many people. This is about their liberal legacy, not about quality.

    December 17, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Bob

    You go Bernie! Bring this thing down if it doesn't have the public option.

    December 17, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  7. TomNDallas

    OK We have had enough grand standing! I guess these senators need some attention like a little child. I am so tired of these morons we get into congress. If they don't work for a big company, then they are just a crook trying to get richer.

    Lets get on with the business at hand!

    December 17, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. AEK

    Go Bernie! This is not a health care reform bill anymore. The Republicans and Blue Dog lobbyists for the insurance have successfully killed any chance of real reform and apparently the White House is still trying to play fair with the playground bullies. Of course this will all come back to bite them all on the buttocks at some point. They have to remember that a MAJORITY of Americans were in favor of a public option. The insurance companies have spared NO expense to protect their monopoly and set up a real sweet deal for themselves in the future. Thank you so much to the spineless Democrats who went along with this farce. And thank you to the Republicans, let's hope you can sleep at night when the real facts come out about your allegiance to the insurance companies.

    KILL THE BILL, BERNIE or VETO IT PRESIDENT OBAMA if you really have the nation's best interests at heart. We know who is to blame don't we Senators Nelson, Coburn, et al.

    December 17, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm with Berney on this. The goal is to ultimately have a single payer healthcare system. I don't know whhy the dem's didn't start out debating this rather than a public option.

    December 17, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. kas

    I am from Vermont. This guy is a lunatic for sure, but if he votes against it...good for us all. I don't care how it gets defeated..just that it does. Then we need to focus on getting all these worthless politicians OUT.

    December 17, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. don't give up

    almost there, don't loose sight of the goal

    December 17, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  12. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I would hope Bernie would get as much good stuff out of the reform, get the mandate dropped, and finally support the bill.

    I think we all feel the frustration with the biggest joke in Washington DC, the republicans. When reform is done, we will all look back on the GOP, and laugh.

    December 17, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  13. Ben in Texas

    Senator Sanders is a man of principle, unlike Lieberman, and he should vote against the bill in its present form. All true Democrats should also, as they will be tainted politically if they do not. Repugnants will rightly accuse them of passing a bad bill. Of course, the bill is now bad because of Repugnant opposition to the key reform components.

    If the bill is voted down by Democrats, everyone will know that Repugnants killed real health care reform and that Democrats refused to pass a bill for show only. Repugnants will then have to face their constituents in disgrace. The voters can then decide who has their interests at heart.

    December 17, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  14. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    We had about 60 tea baggers protesting health reform in front of FL Sen. Nelson's office in Fort Myers. They are confused, but really funny. Kind of like fish out of the water.

    December 17, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. David K in New York, NY

    It is shameful that the Democrats can't get their act together to craft a stronger bill than what they are putting out there right now. Sanders (a guy who has taken bus-loads of his constituents to Canada to buy cheap medicine) is right. With the Presidency, majorities in the Senate and House and this is the best that they can do? I am disgusted.

    Maybe no bill is better than this watered down, ineffective boondoggle that cements the insurance companies' stranglehold on Americans wallets and our sick-care system.

    December 17, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. z

    We need the public option. Maybe, because of Sen. Lieberman we should attach to the health bill without the public option no financial support for Israel or Israel must create a Palestine State in 1 year. I'm currently without health care insurance right now because the insurance company rasied our rate to 1,800 per month and that happened with no claims even filed in the past 3 years.

    The GOP is the real "Dealth Panel" to American People that don't have health insurance.

    Have the GOP filibuster the public option. It will help in the 2010 election that they have never cared about the Amercian People.

    And if they want to delay by reading the bill, they must read it themselves and not have some staff person read it for them.....

    December 17, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  17. gt

    bernie sanders looks like mad professor,,, and he acts like andry old man who didnt get his way... very scarey....

    December 17, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. J. Rochester, NY

    We should just kill this garbage bill. It is a sad defeat, but we should reset, expose where all the insurance dollars are going and try again.
    Maybe this time around, possibly Obama could take an active role and crack some skulls.
    Right now all we have is a bill that has been destroyed by scum bag politicians more interested in enriching themselves than doing something positive for the American people.
    Every thinking American knows that we NEED a change in the our Health Care system and we deserve to have a public option like the rest of the developed countries in the world. Being healthy should be considered a human right instead of a luxury only deserved by the rich.

    December 17, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. Mike

    I wnder how long it's going to take these "Dim-ocrats" to learn to listen to the people and what they are concerned with – economy first, health care next. We get the economy going; jobs are created and people can get health care. Nobody should get aything for free – if you can work – and I mean do anything you are capable of – then you should be able to get decent and affordable healt care.

    The biggest problem I see in America ove the past 40 years is the "Gimmee Generation"; those who feel that they don't have to wok for anyting – it should be given to them. I guess they never heard that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

    December 17, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The republicans are trying to stall the debate on this bill until they become significant again. It looks like the debate may last for 20 years, as they are still quite unpopular.

    December 17, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. Justin

    Go Bernie, Go!!!

    December 17, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. Carl

    It is so frustrating to see this bill continue to cycle through the administration. the MAJORITY of Americans don't want it, and it's patently unconstitutional. For all of you who think the constitutionality argument is nonsense, and the Constitution is a "living" document subject to interpretation, I say that's the equivalent of going to a church where the minister thinks the Bible doesn't really matter. If we don't hold the Constitution as the core of our country, as intended, then our entire government is build on a foundation of sand.

    December 17, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. chris l

    Its so much fun to watch the anti American party known as the Democrats in complete disarray. Hang in there though, it will all end for you in 2010 when REAL AMERICANS stand up and vote out all the corrupt anti American fesces in Congress.

    CONSERVATIVES HATE TO BE TOLD LIES WHILE LIBERALS HATE TO BE TOLD THE TRUTH

    December 17, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. Harryt

    I am so thoroughly disgusted with what's happening in the Senate. The partisanship has been striking. I had been hoping for some major reforms in our health care system, but the negotiated bill with its many compromises is so watered down that I question how much good it's going to do for anyone other than the insurance companies. I find that I have to agree with Howard Dean – it's better to kill it at this stage rather than pass an ineffective bill. Passing this bill in its present form would fit right into the Republicans' (and Lieberman's) hopes that an ineffective bill would pass so that they can later blast the Democrats for passing something that did little to bring health care costs down, even if it was they who stonewalled against the major provisions that would have had a big impact.

    December 17, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. George

    How bout everyone in America call Joe Liberman's office. Tell him to quit being on the take from insurance companies and back the American people.

    December 17, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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