In his attempt to justify Sen. Michael Bennet changing his vote to make it appear as though he was voting for consumers, knowing that the measure he “supported” would fail, Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid revealed his misunderstanding of the legislative process. It also misses the point of the Bennet vote-switch altogether.
Here’s what Bennet did: both he and Sen. Mark Udall voted against a proposal to cap credit card rates at 15 per cent. After casting their votes against the rate cap, they loitered in the well of the senate, monitoring the vote count. When it was obvious the rate cap proposal would fail without their “no” votes, they (along with a bunch of other senators) quickly changed their votes to “yes,” so they could beat their chests and tell their constituents back home that they voted to protect consumers.
As Ralph Kramden would say, “hardy har har.”
This sort of legislative legerdemain is often used by state and federal legislators to make them seem something that they are not. In the U.S. Senate, as in many legislatures, lawmakers have a window of time to switch their votes. Bennet and Udall simply gamed the system for political gain.
Kincaid tossed a smoke bomb at Andrew Romanoff, who is running against Bennet in the Democratic primary election, because then state House Rep. Romanoff voted against a bill giving more leeway to paycheck lenders when the measure was in the House. He later voted for it when the bill was amended by the state Senate and returned for House for final approval. This is how a bicameral (two-house) legislature works. Representatives and senators often change their votes on a bill if the other house has made changes to it that they find acceptable.
Romanoff can’t run around saying he opposed the bill because he voted against it in the house. He is stuck with supporting the measure as it was amended by the state senate. He can only say he voted for the bill, which became law.
Bennet and Udall, on the other hand, are talking out of both sides of their mouths. They flipped their votes right on the Senate floor – before any changes were ever made to the proposal – and the ONLY reason they did that was so they could say they supported the credit card rate cap, but they did so knowing full well it would never pass.
.Ever wonder why government does what it does? It’s Your Government, you know. If you are often puzzled (as am I) send me your question, and I’ll try to answer it in a future column. I’m at [email protected] Smart ass comments go directly to File 13.