Bernie Sanders fed up with Republican filibuster and Democratic caution
Bernie Sanders ran for president promising a political revolution. When he failed to secure the Democratic nomination, the shameless Progressive immediately enlisted as a supporter of a more moderate Democrat, Joe Biden, and became a staunch supporter of his former rival.
But that doesn’t mean Sanders has lost his revolutionary zeal.
In recent days, the independent senator from Vermont has become the most prominent and enthusiastic congressional champion of the argument that Senate Democrats must use their slim majority to adopt a transformational agenda. Sanders has made it clear that he is happy with the White House’s ambitions for strategies such as those outlined in the president’s initial proposal for a US jobs plan. But he’s been equally clear in recent days about his frustration at the deference many Democrats continue to show Republicans who delay and disrupt the government process.
The Biden administration is committed to a delicate dance of negotiations with a small group of Republican senators, fueling faint hopes of reaching a deal to endorse the president’s infrastructure proposal. Republicans, some Democrats and many pundits unable to overcome the illusion of “two-party politics” suggested that a compromise was needed to pass a more modest proposal.
But Sanders doesn’t have it.
“If the Republicans don’t want to cooperate and seriously help us deal with the many crises we face today,” he said, “then, yes, we have to move forward without them to rebuild our infrastructure in ruin and create millions of goods. paid, unionized jobs.
It’s much more than the usual bickering between Democrats and Republicans. Sanders has a longer and more ambitious history of working with Republicans who really want to get things done, on issues ranging from Fair trade to protect civil liberties and audit the Pentagon– than the vast majority of Democrats in Congress. But the senator does not want to fool around. If the Republicans fail to negotiate in good faith, he is ready to drop the negotiations and begin to govern.
This is an emerging view from progressives, who argue that the handful of Senate Republicans who are arguing with Biden – and who have proposed weak-willed alternatives to the president’s agenda – are not taking the lead. seriously discussing the American plan for employment. Activists with the Sunrise movement gathered outside the White House on Friday to demand approval of “the boldest version of the US jobs plan.” “No compromises, no excuses,” the group says. “Democrats need to take their power seriously and stop negotiating with a GOP that is not serious about climate action or the performance of the American people.”
Sanders delivers a similar message with interviews, statements and social media posts that suggest the time to act is now.
When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer pleaded for continued negotiations and compromises on the part of the Democrats, the senator shot him.
“Republicans say they agree with a lot of President Biden‘s plan when it comes to ‘traditional’ infrastructure – roads, bridges, airports, stuff like that,” Blitzer explained. “Are you and other progressives denying President Biden a potentially bipartisan ‘victory’ by including all of the other issues that you characterize as infrastructure that Republicans say is not really traditional infrastructure?”
The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee responded with facts rather than wishful thinking.
“According to experts from our country, American Society of Civil Engineers, what Republicans are proposing for “traditional” infrastructure is only a fraction of what we need, ”Sanders said. “I think every American understands that our roads, our bridges, our water systems, all of that, are really crumbling before our eyes. I’m a former mayor, and what I know is that if you don’t invest in infrastructure, it will only get worse — and it will only cost more. We now have the opportunity to create millions of well-paying, often unionized, jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure. What Republicans are talking about is totally inadequate.
Totally insufficient. And totally undemocratic.
As Sanders and his progressive colleagues note, Democrats have won the presidency, control of the House of Representatives, and Senate control in the 2020 election cycle. Now, by any reasonable measure of how the system is supposed to work, Democrats should rule. And if obstruction reform is necessary to restart the process, so be it.
Echoing the urgency of over 100 groups as Thursday declared, “We cannot allow filibuster to impede progress or jeopardize the health of our democracy,” Sanders said. “The US Senate is the only institution in the world where a 59-41 vote can be considered a defeat instead of a huge victory. Enough is enough. Let’s change the outdated Senate rules, end the filibuster. and adopt a bold program for working families with a majority vote.