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Bennet Keeps Promise, Introduces Public Option

With the Democrats still holding a majority and Senators maintaining their constitutional ability to introduce bills and amendments, Colorado’s Senator Michael Bennet took a bold stand to keep his promise to voters and the netroots community who donated over $100,000 to his campaign after he said he would introduce the public option during reconciliation on the healthcare bill.

Bennet later clarified that because there were not enough votes to insert the public option during reconciliation without risking the bill, it was not practical to try to force the issue.

Not one to give up easily on what he says in letters that he sends to lots of important people or those who gave him money after being moved by his letter, Bennet earlier this year assured those who had named him a public option hero that he would in fact be introducing the public option as an amendment later in the year.

Bennet at the time said it was critical that the insurance companies not simply be handed 30 million new customers without being asked for anything in return and that his support of the public option was unwavering. Bennet noted at the time that Democrats hold the majority but it was going to be a difficult election year and that the public option, along with other key pieces of legislation, needed to be passed while Democrats hold the majority and before the heated fall elections have many Democrats needing to move to center in competitive races.

This week Bennet showed he is a man of his word, willing to stand-up to party leaders, his insurance & drug company contributors and those who declared full victory on healthcare. Despite the naysayers who had called Bennet’s first Public Option letter a ploy and his subsequent promise to introduce the Public Option later more deceit from the embattled appointed Senator, Bennet has taken the bold step of doing exactly what he promised he would do – introduce the Public Option to be voted up or down by the Senate

OK, so this didn’t quite happen. Well, it did, except for the part where Bennet made good on his promise to introduce the public option. Maybe Bennet thinks he’s got the primary wrapped up so he doesn’t need to appeal to those annoying activists who want him to do annoying things like do what he said he’d do. Maybe he’s waiting until after the primary that he thinks he’ll win because, you know, it will be much easier to introduce the public option when it’s much easier to push progressive ideas in a Colorado general election against a Republican. Or maybe, just maybe, he knows something we don’t about how the Dems are going to pick up more seats this November and it will be really super easy to introduce the public option after the November election.

Or maybe Occam’s Razor should apply. The simplest explanation? Writing a letter was a nice PR move to boost cred among progressives. Facing the backlash over not introducing the public option, it was effective and easy to say he would introduce it later. When later comes, it would be easy to say that the Republican opposition is just too strong but he meant it – like really meant it – when he wrote that letter and promised to introduce it later but sometimes he’s just not powerful enough to do what he said he’d do.

Maybe Senator Bennet’s office can tell us when to expect that public option to be introduced. Far as I know, Senators can still go to the floor and introduce bills and amendments.

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