Over a hundred call reports were logged in the past hour by people calling Michael Bennet’s office, asking why he’s now refusing to offer up an amendment on the public option after saying he wanted such a vote only a month ago.
This call report from Lora P. is typical of what people report he’s saying, and it’s clear that Bennet’s office is outright lying about Senate procedure:
They said that someone out on the Internet doesn’t understand the legislative process and that if he does introduce the amendment right now it will require a full vote by both the senate and the house and that it would thus in essence kill what’s already been passed, whereas later this year they can and will introduce the public option and many other fixes which can then be passed via reconciliation instead and that it makes much more sense to do it that way – which is similar to what I’ve heard in other quarters. No wonder he made that snarky comment about the blogosphere.
Michael Bennet and his staff are just lying. Plain and simple. There is no other way to say it. From Jon Walker’s Frosh Sen. Michael Bennet Won’t Offer Public Option Amendment, Still Seems Not To Understand How Legislative Process Works:
Oh, poor, poor Michael Bennet (D-CO). He just doesn’t seem to understand how the legislative process works. He took to the Senate floor to praise what the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”–which was signed yesterday by President Obama–will do. That bill is now law. Today they are working on a completely different bill, a budget reconciliation bill, which mostly contains some tax changes that will not go into effect for years.
Bennet falsely equates what the already-passed health insurance law will do with what this reconciliation bill will accomplish. He claims that trying to make improvements to this minor “sidecar” would be to “play games with the lives of thousands of Coloradans and millions of Americans, and I won’t do it.”
That is absurd. The bill that expands insurance coverage was already signed into law. This reconciliation bill, with its minor changes for the employer mandate, and changes to the excise tax, is not playing games with the lives of millions of Americans. Whether this new bill passes or not it will have little impact on our health care system.
Bennet also claims that merely offering some popular amendments to improve the reconciliation bill would kill it. This is completely nonsense. Changing the bill will only send it back to the House for another vote, where it would likely pass. Because of Byrd rule points of order, the bill will almost certainly need to go back to the House for another vote, anyway. Of course, if there are not enough votes for the amended reconciliation bill in the House, they can always amended the bill again to their liking and send it back to the Senate for a final vote. This is how the legislative process works.
And in fact this morning the Senate parlementarian has ruled that the bill will have to go back to the House regardless. Yet another one of his bullshit excuses evaporates. Bennet’s primary challenger Andrew Romanoff is looking awfully good for calling him out on this.
Bennet said yesterday that he “doesn’t confuse the blogosphere with real people and real voters.”
If you’re in Colorado, please call Senator Bennet and tell him that you are in fact a real person and a real voter, and that you simply want Bennet to do what he said he’d do: save the public option.
If you’re not in Colorado, we’re blanketing the state in online ads ahead of the vote in the Senate later today. We want to engage Coloradans to pressure Bennet in these final hours. Please donate to help us run these ads now.
UPDATE: The Senate has passed the reconciliation bill with Bennet’s vote, but without Bennet offering any kind of amendment.