Michael Bennet 2020 presidential campaign
|Michael Bennet 2020 presidential campaign|
|Campaign||U.S. presidential election, 2020|
U.S. Senator from Colorado (2009–present)
|Launched||May 2, 2019|
|Suspended||February 11, 2020|
|Slogan||"Building Opportunity Together"|
The 2020 presidential campaign of Michael Bennet began on May 2, 2019 when he officially declared his intention to run for president during an appearance on CBS This Morning.  Bennet had been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate following his viral response to Senator Ted Cruz in January 2019. In February and March 2019, he traveled to early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. In late March, Bennet said he was "very inclined" to run for the presidency.
Following his May 2 announcement, Bennet campaigned in Iowa on May 5 and 11 and South Carolina on May 31. He qualified for the first set of debates on June 3, and appeared in the debate on June 27, receiving 8.1 minutes of airtime. He appeared in the second set of debates, held on July 26 and 27, again appearing on night 2, this time receiving 10.6 minutes of airtime. He failed to qualify for the remainder of the debates, held in September, October, November, and December 2019. He also failed to qualify for the Iowa and New Hampshire debate, making him the candidate with the most to not qualify for a single debate (6 times).
In March 2019, Bennet was one of 38 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue warning that dairy farmers "have continued to face market instability and are struggling to survive the fourth year of sustained low prices" and urging his department to "strongly encourage these farmers to consider the Dairy Margin Coverage program."
As of 2010, Bennet had earned a "C+" rating from the National Rifle Association for a mixed record regarding his votes for gun rights. In 2012, Bennet joined then Colorado Senator Mark Udall in asking for stricter gun control, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. After the shooting, Bennet said, "In Colorado, we support the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, we support the ability of people to hunt and recreate and to protect their families and homes, and we want to keep the wrong weapons out of the hands of the wrong people."
Bennet participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster, demanding that gun laws be changed in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. During his participation in the filibuster, Bennet talked about the 2012 Aurora shooting, citing that as a response to the shooting, the state of Colorado closed gun sale loopholes and now requires background checks for any gun purchase.
In 2013, Bennet voted against a Senate Amendment 711 to S. 649 (The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013), an amendment introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have reinstated the federal assault weapons ban. The amendment was defeated 40-60 with one Republican, Mark Kirk, voting in favor and 16 Democrats (including independent Senator Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats) against. Also in 2013 Bennet voted to strengthen the background check system and to ban high-capacity magazines.
Bennet owns a shotgun, which he has called a "hunting shotgun".
Bennet supports same-sex marriage. He lauded the Supreme Court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, stating on his Senate website "Marriage is a fundamental right that same-sex couples deserve to enjoy, and now they will have the same rights and opportunities that the law grants to Susan [Bennet's spouse] and me."
Bennet is the author of legislation to direct resources to improve the sexual health of older Americans, including LGBTQ+ and rural senior populations. He is an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act.
Health care policy
Bennet voted in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. In November 2009, when the bill was still working its way through Congress, Bennet said that he would support health care reform even if it meant losing the election. In 2016, in response to western and central Colorado having some of the highest healthcare costs in the United States, Bennet said he "didn't have answers" and called it "next to impossible" to fix the Affordable Care Act given partisan attitudes at that time.
As part of a group of Democrats proposing "more incremental steps to broaden health care coverage", as opposed to Bernie Sanders's push for "Medicare for All", Bennet and Senator Tim Kaine have proposed "Medicare X". Medicare X would "create a public option modeled after Medicare alongside private options on the ObamaCare marketplaces". In 2019 Bennet and Kaine reintroduced the latest version of the plan, which would also “expand access to tax credits.”
In January 2019, during the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown, Bennet was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb recognizing the efforts of the FDA to address the shutdown's effect on public health and employees while remaining alarmed "that the continued shutdown will result in increasingly harmful effects on the agency's employees and the safety and security of the nation's food and medical products."
In April 2019, Bennet and Senator Chuck Grassley's Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, legislation that creates an option for states and families to provide improved coordination of care for children with complex medical conditions, was signed into law.
In September 2009, Bennet cosponsored the DREAM Act (S. 729), which proposed amending the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 by giving residency to immigrants enrolled in higher education programs or serving in the military. In 2013, he was a member of the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of four Democratic and four Republican U.S. Senators who introduced comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Their bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, passed the U.S. Senate with a vote of 68-32, but stalled in the House due to opposition from the Republican majority. He later cosponsored the Dream Act of 2017. After President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Bennet worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers with stronger border protections.
In August 2018, Bennet was one of 17 senators to sign a letter spearheaded by Kamala Harris to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen demanding that the Trump administration take immediate action in attempting to reunite 539 migrant children with their families, citing each passing day of inaction as intensifying "trauma that this administration has needlessly caused for children and their families seeking humanitarian protection."
In June 2019, Bennet and six other Democratic senators led by Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz sent letters to the Government Accountability Office and the suspension and debarment official and inspector general at the US Department of Health and Human Services citing recent reports that showed "significant evidence that some federal contractors and grantees have not provided adequate accommodations for children in line with legal and contractual requirements" and urged the officials to determine whether federal contractors and grantees are in violation of contractual obligations or federal regulations and should thus face financial consequences.
In July 2019, following reports that the Trump administration intended to cease protecting spouses, parents and children of active-duty service members from deportation, Bennet was one of 22 senators led by Tammy Duckworth to sign a letter arguing that the protection gave service members the ability "to fight for the United States overseas and not worry that their spouse, children, or parents will be deported while they are away" and that its termination would both cause service members personal hardship and negatively affect their combat performance.
Also in July 2019, Markey and 15 other Senate Democrats introduced the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, which would require, except in special circumstances, that ICE agents get approval from a supervisor before engaging in enforcement actions at sensitive locations, and that agents receive annual training in addition to reporting annually on enforcement actions in those locations.
In 2009, Bennet co-sponsored the Solar Manufacturing Jobs Creation Act, legislation that would have provided a tax credit to support solar manufacturing in the U.S. The legislation was not enacted.
In October 2017, Bennet was one of 19 senators to sign a letter to Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt questioning Pruitt's decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan, asserting that Pruitt used "mathematical sleights of hand to overstate the costs of industry compliance with the 2015 Rule and understate the benefits that will be lost if the 2017 repeal is finalized", and that science denial and math tricks fail to "satisfy the requirements of the law, nor will it slow the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the inexorable rise in sea levels, or the other dire effects of global warming that our planet is already experiencing."
In November 2018, Bennet was one of 25 Democratic senators to cosponsor a resolution in response to findings of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change report and National Climate Assessment. The resolution affirmed the senators' acceptance of the findings and their support for bold action to address climate change.
In April 2019, Bennet was one of 12 senators to sign a bipartisan letter to top senators on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development advocating that the Energy Department be granted maximum funding for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), arguing that American job growth could be stimulated by investment in capturing carbon emissions and expressing disagreement with President Trump's 2020 budget request to combine the two federal programs that do carbon capture research.
In March 2018, Bennet voted against tabling a resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee that would have required President Trump to withdraw American troops either in or influencing Yemen within the next 30 days unless they were combating Al-Qaeda.
In November 2018, Bennet joined Senators Chris Coons, Elizabeth Warren and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending the Trump administration a letter raising concerns about the People's Republic of China's undue influence on media outlets and academic institutions in the United States. They wrote: "In American news outlets, Beijing has used financial ties to suppress negative information about the CCP. In the past four years, multiple media outlets with direct or indirect financial ties to China allegedly decided not to publish stories on wealth and corruption in the CCP. In one case, an editor resigned due to mounting self-censorship in the outlet's China coverage. Beijing has also sought to use relationships with American academic institutions and student groups to shape public discourse."
In April 2019, Bennet was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to President Trump regarding cutting aid to Central America. It encouraged Trump "to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America," asserting that Trump had "consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance" since becoming president and that he was "personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity" by preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S. by helping to improve conditions in those countries.
Bennet has cosponsored the bipartisan STATES Act, proposed in the 115th U.S. Congress by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and fellow Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, that would exempt individuals or corporations in compliance with state cannabis laws from federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act. In 2018 Bennet criticized the Trump Administration for attempting to cherry-pick data to misinform the public on marijuana use. In response, the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy committed to be completely objective and dispassionate in its analysis of marijuana.
Bennet is a cosponsor of the SAFE Banking Act, which would provide marijuana businesses access to banking services.
2018–19 government shutdown
On January 24, 2019, Bennet gave a 25-minute speech on the Senate floor in response to comments by Senator Ted Cruz. He questioned the authenticity of Cruz's concern about difficulties that the 2018–19 government shutdown was causing to first responders, recalling that in 2013 Cruz led a shutdown that lasted 16 days at a time when Colorado was experiencing flooding. In less than eight hours the speech became the most-watched Senate floor speech in C-SPAN history.
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