December 17th, 2009
09:01 AM ET
3 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. mjm

    "Sanders, who favors a single payer health care system"

    How many insurance companies compete with a signle payer again?

    No wonder the health care reform debate is a mess.

    December 17, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. Sharon Northern Virginia

    Independents afraid of the ReThugs is what it is.

    December 17, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Johnny DC

    Nice unbiased reporting, CNN.

    A Republican Senator asks for a very important measure to be read aloud prior to the vote, to ensure the public and all Senators (sad that this is not a given already) are made aware of its poor content, and CNN reports it as a "move to stall and defeat the Democrats health care reforms".

    More like this was a move that should be done to any bill or amendment being considered, let alone a massively important one. Everything out of CNN about the GOP paints an ugly picture.

    December 17, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Reagan was wrong

    So to make Bernie happy, you have to piss off Joe; and to make Joe happy, you have to piss off Bernie. Since Joe Lieberman is a petty grandstanding weasel, I think he should be the one thrown under the bus.

    December 17, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Tracy

    Golly, he sure must be evil, just like Joe Lieberman, for not toeing the party line! *GASP*

    December 17, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Liberla wingnut

    Think about it if Independent and moderates are worried about the bills details then shouldn't people be concerned?

    December 17, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Amazing

    Sink it!! We don't want this disaster of a health care bill. Start over and work on real reform, this crap they are trying to shove through will RAISE our premiums, there are NO controls on the costs.............isn't that what the reform was supposed to be about, reducing costs?

    December 17, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. Gern Blansten

    good for Bernie...Obama has abandoned the public by suggesting that reform could happen without a public option.

    December 17, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Robert

    This guy is a socialist loon. Vermont should be ashamed to put such an idiot in our nation's highest legislative chamber.

    December 17, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. precious

    The President promised to get health care reform pass in his first year, and he doesn't care what's in it, as long as he is able to sign something in front of ALL AMERICA and say "see I did it. Don't you just love me more."

    I thought we already had Healthcare, and all that is needed is some kind of "reform" that everyone in America can live with – not "change". If it took us many years to try and get healthcare right, how in heaven's name, can we now get it right in less than 1 year!!.

    Wow! God Bless us ALL!

    December 17, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. Truth Teller

    I'm with Sanders, no public option, no bill.

    December 17, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. jane

    I'm with Sanders. Unlike Lieberman, he is holding out to get a stronger bill, not a weaker one, which it seems that other Democrats are willing to settle for. What they have at present is nothing more than a huge win for the insurance industry, which they're trying to spin into a victory. What a shame. I am so disappointed in the Democrats we've put into office, but then, we always seem to be.

    December 17, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Doug

    Listen to Gov. Dean: pass what's still worthwhile in the bill and the Medicare buy-in through reconciliation. The bill as it is now is a massive giveaway to the insurance companies that own the Senate and it should be voted down.

    December 17, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. James

    This is exactly what the Republicans wanted.......

    December 17, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Gate

    Finally, a single Senator is speaking for the change that the majority of us voted for. GO Bernie!

    December 17, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    You just gotta love those democrats. They either get their way or they take their ball and go home crying. What a bunch of immature losers.

    December 17, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Randolph Carter. I'm no expert but...

    It's funny how last year, during the presidential campaign, John McCain proposed a healthcare reform plan which would be paid for by 1.3 trillion in cuts to medicare and medicaid over the next decade. But that was last year. How soon we forget. Have a nice day!

    December 17, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. ran

    Good for him. We never had 60 true Democrats in the Senate. What is needed is to get 60 true Democrats in 2010 or at least by 2012; then we can really see change.

    I think it is time for Reconciliation. Also, seeing the Republicans will never support any issue do the same for energy, immigration and all other issues until we get the 60 true Democrats.

    Enough of all this insanity. Get things done already.

    December 17, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. Jim

    I thinking the matter should be resolved with a cage fight between Sanders and Lieberman.

    December 17, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Red by Choice

    According to every major poll the majority of Americans think the Democrat's health care bill is a complete disaster and yet the Democrats keep pushing this budget busting, pork lined, seriously flawed bill. To Misters Lieberman and Sanders, thank you for remembering what the word "representative" means in representative government. To the rest of the self-important Democratic law makers, your day is coming. We, the people, are going to vote you arrogant bums out of office.

    Health care reform, yes. The Democrat's financial disaster bill, hell no!

    Democrat's manifesto seems to still be in full effect: “...by any means necessary”.

    December 17, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. AXH

    SINK this bill before it and Congress sinks the American people!!!

    December 17, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Ben Carlisle

    Now it's Bernie's turn to ask for a Louisiana Purchase?

    December 17, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. Chad

    What a nut-job this guy is.

    December 17, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. sonny chapman

    If all Progressives can't swallow their pride & GROW UP then we're no better than silly Tea Baggers.

    December 17, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. GI Joe

    With regard to Ben Nelson getting an outside group to review the Bill - can't he read it himself?

    Since when do we allow a special interest group in Nebraska to hold the entire country hostage?

    I think Nelson needs to go. If he can't think without the special interest group telling him how, maybe he should just give it up.

    NEBRASKA – YOU CAN DO BETTER !!!!!

    December 17, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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