November 22nd, 2009
02:03 PM ET
12 years ago

Freshman Dem: Passing health care reform worth losing my seat

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Colorado Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet said Sunday that he is ready to lose his seat if that's what is necessary to pass a health care reform bill."]
Washington (CNN) – A freshman Democratic senator said Sunday that he will support his party’s efforts to pass health care reform legislation even if that means losing his seat in next year’s midterm elections.

“If you get to the final point and you are a critical vote for health care reform and every piece of evidence tells you if you support the bill you will lose your job, would you cast the vote and lose your job?” CNN’s John King asked Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado on Sunday’s State of the Union.

“Yes,” Bennet bluntly and simply replied.

Bennet was appointed by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter to replace Sen. Ken Salazar, who stepped down from the Senate to serve as President Obama’s Interior Secretary. Bennet, who was superintendent of the Denver public school system prior to his appointment, will have to seek election to the seat for the first time in 2010.

Related: West is tough terrain for Democrats

Filed under: Colorado • Health care • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Anita

    The thing IS do you vote according to you party? OR do you vote the way the voters would like you to vote. It proves our elected leaders , don't listen to those who voted them in, they vote with the party, Is it time to get away from the party system and into something else..

    November 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Don

    This doesn't mean he doesn't care about his constituents, it means that as a freshman who never needed campaign money, he isn't in the pocket of wealthy corporations like insurance companies, so he is free to vote for what he sees is right for Coloradans. Sounds like a great reason to promote term limits and publicly funded campaigns.

    November 22, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Marcy Spencer

    I will never understand why people are so afraid of a national program of health insurance. If anything, the plan isn't radical enough. The pharmaceutical-medical bloc in this country has put us all in the position of needing the federal government to intervene on our behalf. Think about it: Publicly traded drug companies have an obligation to their shareholders to make a profit...a big profit. Too many medical complexes have evolved into nothing more than Big Business. We, the taxpaying citizens, bear the brunt. Why are "conservatives" so afraid of national medical programs that have succeeded in Canada and in Europe for decades? When I have to choose between paying the rent and buying groceries and seeing my doctor I really have no choice – and in a modern democratic society that lack of choice is just plain wrong. If the GOP had a plan, we'd be hearing about it. All we hear is angry opposition but nothing more substantial. Hats off to Sen. Bennet for standing on principal.

    November 22, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. jkm

    While getting the "change" they wanted is supposedly great, the bankrupting of the United States of America has now been assurred!

    Thank you, all of you "DEMO-RATS"!

    November 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. jeffrey root

    To live is a right, just ask conservatives when talking about abortion. They should understand more than anyone that even if you are in the minority on a debate that saves lives you are still doing the right thing. I look at government run health care as a good temporary fix to help those who are dying NOW but I also hope their is a nice lengthy debate about what to do about the system in the future. How to perfect and even replace it with an even better system. I just want Republicans to think about who is dying today, not 4 years from now.

    November 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Braxton

    So, for this "honorable" senator it doesn't matter what his electorate want him to do. It only matters what he and his party thinks is right. Talk about a perfect example of fascism!

    November 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Phil

    Haren, as a proud member of opposition to this bill, I'd love nothing more than to stop receiving the "benefits" of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

    However, what I'm really after is not having to pay for this nonsense.

    November 22, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Dennis

    He probably will lose and should if his vote doesn't represent the people he allegedly represents.

    November 22, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Robrob

    @buckwheat – Where have you been for the last ten years? Democrats' power came in 2006 with the excesses of the Republican administration.

    November 22, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. TJ

    I guess this guy wants to make political suicide. Great, one less Democrat to worry about in Congress after 2010. By all means senator, ignore your constituents. We will relish in your defeat. There are many other pressing issues in the future that your vote will surely not be a part. Good riddance!

    November 22, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. D. Tree

    The American People want and need this reform!

    November 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Debbie

    I find it interesting that King (leans right as does wife Bash) is asking if the guy would lose his job over voting his conscience. It is interesting because you don't see King asking a Republican that. It is interesting because King makes a Congressional seat to be nothing more than a simple "job."

    CNN was to move center. King needs to go back to the magic map or lose his job.

    November 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    So this guy will vote to impose socialised medicine on the country even though a majority of his constituents don't want it.

    What astonishing, unbelievable, arrogance!

    He knows what good for us, even if we're to dumb to figure it out for ourselves.

    November 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Keith

    "So, for this "honorable" senator it doesn't matter what his electorate want him to do. It only matters what he and his party thinks is right. Talk about a perfect example of fascism!"

    He was elected, and if he goes against the electorate, he gets unelected.

    Yep, that's facism alright. Must be you went to school in the south...which would still be under Jim Crow laws if politicians didn't sometimes decide to do what's right rather than what the public wants.

    November 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Rdanck

    Sure sign that it's A Great Bill when the DEMS have to PAY OFF Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) $300,000,000 in order to get her vote.

    Way to go Reid. Your term is up next year as well, I hope the people of Nevada retire you as well.

    November 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    Every poll I've have seen so far..except at a certain "news" station that I won't even bother to name, shows that Americans DO want reform of healthcare and want Congress to pass a bill doing so. The only ones against this are the Republicans that are in the insurance compaines back pocket, their uninformed or under informed tea bag people, and of course the insurance company themselves. The GOP will still keep using their fear tactics to soup up their base, but their BIGGEST fear is that if this is passed and it works, then like the Christmas goose the GOP is cooked.

    November 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. jkm

    I'll vote for this ridiculous health care bill when everyone whom receives a Welfare check gets a job (of some sort)!

    November 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Jay

    Again, I'll ask the question: For those of you who have actually read the bill or at least seen its main points (and there must be a great many of you, since we see so much support for this bill) – IS THERE TORT REFORM IN THIS BILL???

    November 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Gary

    Wow finally a senator with the guts to do the right thing. I can't believe he hasn't been bought off by the insurance companys and big pharma. Now if only we could get some republicans not owned by the health care industry.

    November 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Melissa

    Good. Its about time. The Democrats are starting to realize that, if they band together, they can get whatever done that needs to be done. I hope it continues. Screw the Republicans.

    November 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Ray Fisher

    I admire his sticking to his principles, imagine that from any politician!!!

    November 22, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Rich (Charleston, SC)

    This bill is insane.

    #1 – We do NOT want the federal government running my healthcare, telling me how and what coverage I must have, determining what procedures I am allowing to have. Those decions are between me and my doctor and not detmined by politicans.

    #2 – Medicare is just about bankrupt, Medicaid IS bankrupt, Social Security will be bankrupt for my kids, and the Post Office has been bankrupt for years. Does anyone honestly think that the Federal government can run healthcare better? COME ON

    #3 – It cost too damm much and the worst possible time. Pelsoi – Reid are pulling a shell game to make this look less coslty in the next 10 years, but its all a fake. This is absolutely a "break-the-bank" bill.

    #4 – $500 billion out of Medicare!!! Are you kidding? WHERE? $47 billion in "potential" fraud .. ok. So where is the other $450 billion? In cuts, thats where. Thank you AARP for standing up for the people who pay your salary.

    #5 Tax's, Tax's Tax's. Thank you to all you who voted of Obama and never took the time to understand the guy and what he stood for, and now regret it. Now the counrty is paying for your blind stupidity. Redistribution of wealth, Socliaism, government control in every bit of our lives. You know .... the liberal loved knocking Bush on "trampling our civil liberties". Well, this President and Congress is doing more to take away the freedoms and liberties that made this country great, than ANY President before him.

    November 22, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. jerry

    When did it become the "right thing to do" to ignore what you know are the wishes of your constituents in favor of what you believe is right (or what is lucrative, we never know about bribes)?
    L in Denver:
    Don't get too beside yourself with anticipation; the final program in the U.S. will very little resemble the Australian program. Our program will be tailored to make certain that the insurance companies don't lose their multi-billion dollar incomes. That would truly not be the American way!
    The U. S. has completely screwed up health care for the elderly. Wait until you see what they do when they have to take care of everyone !!

    November 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. JeninCO

    I live in Michael Bennet's district and will be doing everything in my power to make sure he does not get re-elected. When you don’t do your job, you should be fired. What is the point of having elections anyway, if you are going to completely disregard the will of the people? Every poll shows this current bill is not what the people want!

    I’m so sick of these politicians thinking they are smarter than we are and doing whatever they want. This is the core problem with our country right now.

    All of you people who think this current bill is a great idea need to look at the bigger picture here…take off your blinders. While this country does indeed need healthcare reform, kind of like we thought we needed change, just what kind of reform is the question we should be asking. Most people in this country are a little surprised at the kind of change we’re getting with this Obama administration and aren’t too thrilled with it.

    What is currently being proposed is not so much about healthcare reform as it is about taking over our liberties and it breaks my heart that so many are either too lazy or too naïve to see it. Try tort reform and portability. That would be real reform. The government does not need to take over the system. They will only make things worse, as history clearly proves.

    As the great Ronald Reagan once said, “Government is not the solution to the problem. Government IS the problem!”

    November 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Scott

    How is voting for something his constituents don't want considered to be "standing up for the American people". These people we elect are supposed to be our representatives, representing our positions to the country. Voting against the will of the people he represents is the height of arrogance.

    November 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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