As the Senate voted Tuesday on amendments to a food safety bill, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) could be overheard by C-SPAN viewers venting his frustrations about the lame-duck session of Congress and the legislative process that has left the Senate with multiple items on its to-do list and precious little time to get them done.
"It's all rigged. The whole conversation is rigged," Bennet said in a loud whisper to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). "The fact that we don't get to a discussion before the break about what we're going to do in the lame duck. It's just rigged."
Although Bennet's complaint was meant to be private, he spoke from the chair of the Senate's presiding officer, where a microphone picked up his comments and broadcast them to the television audience listening in.
Bennet recently won re-election to his first full term after being appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat by Colorado's Democratic governor, Bill Ritter. As one of the newest members of the chamber, Bennet has voiced his frustration about its arcane rules and has introduced a bill to change the filibuster rule that allows 41 senators to block debate on a bill before a vote ever happens.
Bennet's spokesman, Adam Bozzi, said the senator's open-mike moment was nothing more than what he has been saying since he arrived on Capitol Hill.
"For almost two years, he has talked about needing to fix a broken Washington," Bozzi said. "We can't move forward on major issues facing our country because of a broken system that is rigged to prevent progress."
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