A Colorado Democrat handpicked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to helm the party’s 2014 campaign effort was one of the eight “no” votes against the fiscal cliff deal last night.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) was appointed to fill the seat left vacant by Ken Salazar’s appointment to the Interior Department in 2009. He won his first full term in 2010, and was named to chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last month.
Bennet’s vote flummoxed Dems on Twitter after the late-night session. In a statement, the senator said he wouldn’t agree to anything that adds to the deficit.
“Washington once again has lived up to its reputation as the ‘Land of Flickering Lights,’” Bennet said. “For four years in my townhall meetings across the state Coloradans have told me they want a plan that materially reduces the deficit. This proposal does not meet that standard and does not put in place a real process to reduce the debt down the road.”
Bennet had been working on a bipartisan deficit-reduction deal with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), but Alexander voted for the compromise bill early this morning.
The other “no” votes were from Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Harkin was upset about raising the threshold for tax hikes from President Obama’s favored number of $250,000 to $450,000 for households.
Carper has strongly favored a Simpson-Bowles approach that includes comprehensive tax reform and spending cuts.
Before coming to the Senate, Bennet’s experience included six years restructuring debt as managing director for Anschutz Investment Company, a firm of conservative tycoon Phil Anschutz.