Bernie Sanders says $ 3.5 trillion expense bill price should be lowered
To get the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger social spending package passed, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Said on Sunday that the price of the $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution would likely be lowered.
“Three and a half billion should be a minimum, but I accept that it’s going to have to give and take,” Sanders told ABC “This Week” co-host Jonathan Karl.
House progressives have warned leaders that they will not vote on President Joe Biden‘s bipartisan infrastructure bill until the larger human infrastructure bill is also ready for a vote. The budget resolution calls for investments in climate change policy, childcare and other social programs, and has a broader reach than the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes measures to improve the physical infrastructure of the country.
“These two bills are moving forward in tandem,” Sanders said, reiterating the progressive call to wait for infrastructure to pass until the social spending bill is also passed.
Moderate Senators Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, have said they will not support the bill’s $ 3.5 trillion price tag. Due to the slim Democratic majority in the Senate, neither bill will pass if it does not get all of the Democrats’ votes.
Sinema issued a statement on Saturday accusing the progressives of “an ineffective blow” and criticized Democratic House leaders for failing to push through the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
“Denying Americans millions of well-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity and better broadband only hurts everyday families,” Sinema wrote.
Asked by Karl to respond to his statement, Sanders said he believed Sinema was “wrong” and said the two bills should go forward together, adding that he voted for the bill. on infrastructure.
“We are not just confronting or dealing with Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, we are facing the entire ruling class of the country,” Sanders replied. “Right now the drug companies, the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry are spending hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to keep us from doing what the American people want.”
“It’s really a test of whether democracy can work,” Sanders said. “I very much hope and expect that the Democratic caucus and the president – I know he will – will stand firm.”
Biden spent the last week negotiating with members and traveled to Capitol Hill on Friday to meet with House Democrats. According to sources in the meeting room, the president suggested lowering the price of his social policy bill to a number ranging from $ 1.9 to $ 2.2 trillion to achieve a compromise.
Sanders said he wasn’t sure it was “correct” to say Biden would settle on a roughly $ 2 trillion reconciliation plan.
“The president also said that a smaller investment could create historic achievements, but [for] Isn’t that $ 2 trillion? ”Karl insisted.
“What the president is saying is what we are trying to do is for the working families of this country, for the children, for the elderly, we are trying to pass the bill the most. important since the Great Depression, and it is true, “Sanders replied, then told Karl that” No “, a price of $ 2 trillion for the biggest bill is” not enough ” .
Manchin said he would not vote to go over $ 2 trillion on the reconciliation bill. When asked how they could proceed without his vote, Sanders said the bill was paid by raising taxes on “the richest people who don’t pay federal taxes.”
“If Manchin wants to pay for it, I’m here, let’s do it, and by the way, you could pay it at $ 3.5 trillion, you can pay it at $ 6 trillion,” Sanders said. “We have massive income and wealth inequalities in this country.”
Virginia Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe called the $ 3.5 trillion price tag too high. Pressed on whether the Democratic internal struggles will hurt not only Democrats at the midpoint but also McAuliffe in his November run, Sanders said he “wished Terry McAuliffe the best of luck” and highlighted the popularity of the reconciliation bill.
“What we are fighting for is precisely what the American people want,” Sanders said.
Sanders stressed his confidence in the passage of the two bills.
“At the end of the day, I’m absolutely confident that we’re going to have a strong infrastructure bill, and we’re going to have a big, consistent reconciliation bill that meets the needs of the American people,” Sanders said.