Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the United States Senate since 2009. Widely recognized as a pragmatic and independent thinker, he is driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. Michael has built a reputation of taking on Washington dysfunction and working with Republicans and Democrats to address our nation’s greatest challenges – including education, climate change, immigration, health care, and national security.

Accomplishments

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Aug 2022

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT

Michael helped craft the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which made the largest investment to confront climate change in history, reduces our deficit, and lowers costs for Coloradans.


The IRA will lower health care costs for Coloradans by requiring  Medicare to negotiate drug prices and extending health insurance credits for over 150,000 Coloradans, as Michael proposed in his Medicare-X public option bill. 


As the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, Michael championed boosting domestic energy production and clean energy tax credits in the IRA and ensured that rural Coloradans, and Tribal communities would have full access to those credits. 


Michael secured $4 billion to address Colorado River Basin drought, and as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry and Natural Resources, he pushed to secure more than $20 billion for conservation measures and $5 billion for our forests to reduce wildfire risk, modeled after Michael’s Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act.


Michael also helped write the IRA’s 15% Corporate Minimum Tax to ensure the country’s 200 richest corporations pay their fair share.

Jul 2022

CHIPS AND SCIENCE ACT

Michael supported the CHIPS and Science Act to boost the domestic semiconductor industry, fund the largest five-year investment in R&D in the nation’s history, and create regional technology hubs nationwide to spur broad-based job creation and innovation. Based on  Michael’s legislation in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the bill dedicates $1.5 billion to investing in deploying next generation wireless networks without relying on insecure equipment from companies like Huawei and ZTE.
Mar 2022

AMACHE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE DESIGNATION

Michael secured passage of his legislation to establish Amache, a former Japanese American incarceration facility outside of Granada, Colorado, as part of the National Park System. Amache will now have the recognition it deserves and the resources it needs to ensure future generations have the opportunity to learn about what happened at Amache and the Americans who were interned there.

Nov 2021

BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW

Michael supported the bipartisan infrastructure law, the largest infrastructure investment since Eisenhower was president. The law includes several Colorado priorities championed by Michael, including the largest federal broadband investment, based on Michael’s BRIDGE Act. 


The law provides billions of dollars for western water infrastructure, which Michael urged Senate leadership and the Biden Administration to prioritize, including $5 billion for Tribal communities, consistent with Michael’s Tribal Access to Clean Water Act.


It also makes a $5 billion investment in forest health and wildfire resilience, provides $300 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, and formally authorizes the USDA Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership Initiative to restore forests and grasslands across public and private land. The law also included Michael’s bipartisan Carbon Capture Improvement Act to make it easier for power plants to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture equipment.

Mar 2021

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT

Michael supported the American Rescue Plan Act to fight the pandemic and help Americans weather the economic fallout of the crisis. The bill included an expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on Michael’s legislation. Child poverty dropped to a record low in 2021 in large part as a result of the expanded Child Tax Credit. It also included $3 billion for Michael’s Health Force proposal to expand the public health workforce.
Dec 2020

STOPPED SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLS

Michael’s legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills was signed into law as a part of the Fiscal Year 2021 government funding bill. A May 2022 survey found the legislation had prevented more than 2 million potential surprise medical bills for patients with private insurance between January and February 2022.
Mar 2018

Fire Funding Fix

After years of bipartisan work, Michael led the effort to secure a long-term funding fix to end “fire borrowing,” the practice of taking money from fire prevention accounts to pay to fight fires. The fix modernizes the Forest Service by increasing its capacity to budget effectively and restore forest health, allowing the Forest Service to complete the entirety of its mission. The fix also included forest management reforms that build on Michael’s work in the 2014 Farm Bill to expand Good Neighbor Authority and improve Stewardship Contracting.

Sep 2017

RACE for Children Act Passes

When the bipartisan Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity (RACE) for Children Act passed into law, Michael called it a “breakthrough for kids in Colorado and around the country fighting cancer.” RACE for Children supports the development of innovative cancer drugs for children, for the first time allowing kids to access the same cutting-edge medications that show promise in adults.

May 2017

PROTECTING METHANE RULES

Michael cast the deciding vote to protect the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Methane and Waste Prevention Rule and block an effort that would have wasted taxpayer resources, polluted our air, and accelerated climate change.
Dec 2015

Wind and Solar Tax Credit Extension

Michael knows that renewable energy like wind and solar strengthen Colorado’s diverse energy industry and support thousands of high-paying jobs. He secured five-year extensions of the wind production tax credit (PTC) and solar investment tax credit (ITC) to provide certainty for renewable energy manufacturers and producers in Colorado and around the country.

Sep 2015

ESSA

As a member of the Senate HELP Committee, Michael helped author and pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan bill that revamps No Child Left Behind’s prescriptive, top-down approach while maintaining its core strengths. As a member of the Senate HELP Committee and the former Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Michael secured measures in the bill that modernize the teacher hiring process, increase funding flexibility, and reward innovative educational practices.

Apr 2015

Better Buildings Act Passes

Promoting energy efficiency needs to be part of our larger strategy to combat climate change and boost our economic and national security. To accomplish this, Michael helped pass the Better Buildings Act, a commonsense law to encourage commercial building tenants to implement cost-effective measures that will help reduce energy consumption and utility costs for businesses.

Mar 2015

40-MILE RULE

In November 2014, Michael wrote to the VA Secretary to express concerns he’d heard from Coloradans about the 40-mile rule, which was preventing veterans from receiving non-VA health care because they lived only 39 miles from the nearest VA facility as-the-crow-flies. However, because of mountains, the distance those veterans had to travel was more than 50 miles. In March 2015, the VA revised the rule to reflect the actual driving distance.
Feb 2015

Browns Canyon Designation

Browns Canyon attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to hike, climb, and raft among its rugged beauty—creating tourism and jobs that boost local economies. Following efforts from Michael and other Colorado lawmakers—including letters and legislation—President Obama designated Browns Canyon as a national monument, protecting the area while maintaining existing uses.

Jun 2014

Denver Patent Office Opens

Michael sponsored an amendment to open the first permanent patent office west of the Mississippi. The resulting Denver office generates millions of dollars for the region and makes it easier for Colorado’s innovators and small business owners to access patent office services.

Jan 2014

PIKES PEAK NATIONAL VA CEMETERY

In 2009, Michael began pushing for a veterans cemetery in southern Colorado so military families did not have to travel 80 miles to bury their loved ones. In 2013, following Michael’s advocacy, the VA announced it would purchase land for a site in Colorado Springs and it closed the deal in January 2014.
Jan 2014

Farm Bill

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Michael hosted dozens of meetings and listening sessions with farmers and ranchers across Colorado as he wrote and helped pass the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill provided farmers and ranchers with much-needed certainty, cut red tape by streamlining dozens of programs, and enabled new partnerships to conserve Colorado’s natural resources—all while providing meaningful deficit reduction.

Oct 2013

Bipartisan Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection

In collaboration with local sportsmen, snowmobilers, conservationists, and miners, Michael worked in Congress to protect more than 100,000 acres of the Hermosa Creek Watershed in Southwest Colorado. The law follows recommendations from local stakeholders for the designation of wilderness areas, as well as other areas specifically for outdoor recreation. The compromise among a diverse group of Coloradans should serve as a model for Washington.

Feb 2013

SAFER Act Helps Reduce Rape Kit Backlog

Survivors of sexual assault should not have to wait for justice to be served while DNA evidence sits untested. Michael helped pass a law that gives police and crime labs greater flexibility to use the resources available to them to test rape kits. In 2017, he introduced an updated version of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act to extend and improve the law.

Jan 2013

Gang of Eight Immigration Bill

As a member of the “Gang of Eight,” a group of four Democrats and four Republicans, Michael authored and helped pass comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate—the most monumental change in immigration laws in decades. The legislation would have secured the border, created a pathway to citizenship, and fixed visa programs while protecting American workers. Due to partisan gridlock, the bill never came to the House floor for a vote. However, it has endured as a model for addressing immigration reform in a principled way.

Jan 2013

First Breakthrough Therapy Drug Approved

Michael helped pass the bipartisan Breakthrough Therapies Designation to expedite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for cutting-edge drugs and treatments that show dramatic responses early in development. In 2013, the FDA approved its first breakthrough drug to treat leukemia. Since then, the designation has led to life-saving innovations in cancer, cystic fibrosis, and other diseases.

Sep 2012

Chimney Rock National Monument Designation

After years of bipartisan effort from the Colorado delegation—including Michael introducing legislation, writing letters, and working with local tribes—President Obama designated Chimney Rock as a national monument. Not only did this ensure Chimney Rock’s protection for future generations, but it also boosted tourism and the economy in the region.

Jul 2012

BREAKTHROUGH THERAPIES

In March 2012, Michael introduced legislation to allow for expedited FDA approval for breakthrough drugs that show dramatic responses early in development, which was incorporated into the FDA Safety and Innovation Act that was signed into law in July 2012. As a result, more than 230 drugs that help people with cancer, cystic fibrosis, and other life-threatening diseases have received the designation.
Jun 2012

FDA Reform

In his role on the Senate HELP Committee, Michael coauthored bipartisan legislation to modernize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He spearheaded several amendments in the law to streamline regulatory processes, while maintaining safety and efficacy for consumers. He also secured the Breakthrough Therapies Designation, making it possible for innovative drugs and treatments to reach the market more quickly.

Dec 2009

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Michael was the 59th vote to pass the Affordable Care Act. Ever since he has fought Republican efforts to repeal and gut the law and proposed his Medicare-X legislation, whichwould build on the success of the ACA to expand access to affordable health insurance.

Life Before the Senate

Before his appointment to the Senate in 2009 and election to a full six-year term in 2010, Michael served as Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, where he led a bold and inclusive reform effort that improved student achievement, helped turn around failing schools, and brought a halt to a seemingly endless cycle of annual budget cuts.

Before serving at the Denver Public Schools, Michael was widely credited with balancing the budget and spearheading reforms as Chief of Staff to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. In that role, he also pushed through reforms that made city government more responsive to the greater Denver community.

Michael also has experience in the private sector as Managing Director at the Anschutz Investment Company, where he managed the successful restructuring of more than $3 billion in corporate debt.

Michael earned his bachelor's degree with honors from Wesleyan University and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of The Yale Law Journal.

Michael and his wife Susan Daggett, a natural resources lawyer, are the parents of three daughters: Caroline, Halina, and Anne.

Results for Colorado

Michael has emerged as an effective leader with a proven record of bringing people together to deliver results for Colorado working families.

He was a member of the bipartisan "Gang of 8" -- four Democrats and four Republicans -- that introduced and passed a bill through the Senate to fix our broken immigration system. He continues to work with bipartisan colleagues to secure common sense immigration reforms to boost the economy, strengthen our national security, and provide a fair path to citizenship for millions undocumented immigrants.

A former businessman, Michael has led the fight in Washington to create jobs, support working and middle-class families and grow our economy. And as father and a former school superintendent, Michael believes we must meet the promise each generation has made to the next: to leave more opportunity, not less, to our kids and grandkids.

In 2021, Michael passed his expanded Child Tax Credit, which helped cut childhood poverty almost in half, reduced childhood hunger by a third, and kept millions of Americans out of poverty for a year. Michael also helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act which made crucial investments to confront climate change and make health care more affordable, while reducing the deficit and making the richest corporations finally pay their fair share in taxes.

 

To protect our Western way of life, Michael has been a champion for Colorado’s public lands and working lands in the Senate. Michael worked for over a decade with Colorado communities to write and introduce the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act to protect 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado and grow outdoor recreation opportunities. Michael led the efforts to establish Amache, a Japanese American incarceration facility during WWII as part of the National Park System, and Camp Hale, a WWII Army training site, and the surrounding Tenmile Range as a National MonumentInvaluable parts of Colorado’s and our country’s history, these protected sites will allow future generations to learn the history of our nation.

As Colorado's U.S. Senator, Michael has fought to invest in clean energy to create jobs and help break our reliance on overseas oil, to uphold our commitment to Colorado's veterans and military families, and to preserve Colorado's rich agricultural tradition underpinned by our family farmers and ranchers.

 

In the Senate

Michael is a member of the Senate Committees on Finance; Intelligence; and Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

  • Senate Committee on Finance

    The Senate Committee on Finance is one of the most established and influential committees in the Senate. Its jurisdiction touches every piece of Colorado's economy, from tax reform to health care to trade. These programs and policies constitute more than half of the federal budget and all of the federal revenue. Michael is a member of the following subcommittees:

    • Subommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure (Chair)
    • Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness
    • Subommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy
     
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  • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence oversees the intelligence activities and programs of the U.S. government. The Committee provides vigilant oversight to assure that those activities conform to the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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  • Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

    The Senate Committee on Agriculture has jurisdiction over federal farm policy, including agriculture commodities, marketing, inspection and trade, farm credit and protection, and rural revitalization. Michael is a member of the following subcommittees:

    • Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources (Chair)
    • Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy
    • Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research
     
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  • Congressional Caucuses

    Michael is a member of the following caucuses: 

    • Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus, Co-Chair
    • Olympic and Paralympic Caucus, Co-Chair
    • Outdoor Recreation Caucus
    • Aerospace Caucus
    • Army Caucus
    • India Caucus
    • American Defense Communities Caucus
    • Broadband Caucus
    • Cybersecurity Caucus
    • Ocean Caucus
    • Sportsmen’s Caucus
    • Human Trafficking Caucus
    • Impact Aid Caucus
    • Military Families Caregivers Caucus
    • Foreign Service Caucus 
    • Hispanic Task Force
     
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