Bernie Sanders on the Corporate Threat to American Democracy

S.Senator Bernie Sanders wants the public to know that fighting to get the Democrats through the $ 3.5 trillion Social Expenditure Bill is not just about meeting the needs of working class families and tackling the climate crisis – it is about “the future of the American Democracy ”and whether oligarchs will succeed in foiling a popular agenda.

In a pen and pad briefing with reporters on Friday, Sanders focused on “special interests wealthy and powerful” wanting to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to thwart the bill and called on the Capitol Hill press corps to do the reporting rethinking horse racing and instead thinking about what is really at stake.

“Do you live in a democratic society?” Said Sanders. “What kind of society do you live in where you have three paid lobbyists for every member of the US Congress? And there are lobbying firms run by ex-Democratic leaders, Republican leaders, who work overtime to try to break this legislation. “

And then there is the fossil fuel industry, the health industry, and the richest people in the country who are spending millions to break the legislation, Sanders added.

He continued to criticize Senators Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona for obstructing the legislation that the American people, the president, and an overwhelming majority of the Democratic Group want. When asked if he would have to sit in a room with Manchin and Sinema to negotiate a deal that would make everyone happy, Sanders replied, “I don’t know if you’re a film writer – this is not a movie.”

Sanders also reiterated that he would accept no less than $ 3.5 trillion for the budget package.

President Joe Biden has come up with a $ 2.3 trillion plan, while Manchin said $ 1.5 trillion is his limit – a number the Congressional Progressive Caucus has identified as a non-runner. So, Democratic leaders are in the process of deciding which of the country’s most vulnerable people will be thrown under the bus, while they are considering removing or drastically removing a number of climate and social safety net programs from their spending package in an attempt to try two To appease senators.

To cut the $ 3.5 trillion Bill of Reconciliation – and that $ 3.5 trillion figure is a combination of spending and tax cuts over 10 years – the White House is trying to figure out what the Democrats should cut first: billions to alleviate homelessness, universal precedents kindergarten, free community college, dental benefits for seniors, free lunch at school, and so on. Some initiatives could be dropped altogether and many of the social programs promoted by Democrats are in danger of being forgotten.

Manchin, a coal baron who represents one of the poorest states in the country, opposes his party’s reconciliation on the pretext of avoiding a “society of claims”. But his “entitlement” rhetoric comes as he struggles to get tax breaks in the oil and gas industry, an industry to which he owes much of his personal and professional wealth. The Senator from West Virginia is allegedly demands that his colleagues select only one of the top three priorities in the expenditure accountan extended child allowance, paid family leave or childcare allowances. Sinema, on the other hand, has been much less transparent about the specific guidelines it follows and does not support. However, Sanders refuses to cut overall spending any further. “I think we’re doing the programs we’ve outlined and we’re funding them generously,” he said. “That’s not a choice.”

Sanders, as chairman of the Senate Budgets Committee, initially proposed a plan to spend $ 6 trillion over a decade – a package that encompassed much of Biden’s agenda. In late March, as the Biden government was preparing to unveil its infrastructure plan, progressives and environmental groups demanded $ 10 trillion in spending over the next decade on climate protection alone.

When asked if he was worried the Democrats would eventually walk away without handing anything at all, Sanders said he hoped it wouldn’t, but there was a chance. “Is there a possibility, a terrible possibility that would be so terrible for this country that nothing will happen because two people refuse to do what 96 percent of the group want?” he said. “There is that possibility, I think it’s a minimal possibility, but that possibility is there.”

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