Bernie Sanders: The time for discussions in the Senate is over. we have to vote
Democrats cannot ignore these realities and continue to walk a failing road that will only lead to disaster.
Now is the time for a major course correction. Now is the time for Senate Democrats to introduce legislation that meets the needs of working families and challenge Republicans to vote against these important and grassroots initiatives. Now is the time to rally the American people around an agenda that works for everyone, not just the 1%.
The good news is that the House and an overwhelming majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus — up to 48 out of 50 members — are ready to pass strong, grassroots legislation that addresses the long-neglected needs of the working class. At a time when the top 1% are doing incredibly well, we are ready to reform our regressive tax system and demand that the super-rich and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
We want to fight the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and drastically reduce the prices of prescription drugs, expand health insurance to cover hearing, dental and vision care, solve the child poverty crisis and a child care system dysfunctional children, improve the quality of home health care, build the affordable housing we desperately need, and create millions of good jobs by fighting the existential threat of climate change.
The bad news is that two members of the Senate Democratic Caucus make sense. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona declined their support. For six months, President Biden and many of us engaged in endless negotiations with these senators. These endless conversations, which have come to nothing, must stop. Voting time should begin.
If, however, we cannot pass a complete bill, then we should divide it into separate bills and the members of the Senate should vote on the very popular program for which we are fighting.
In my opinion, in a democratic society, voters have a right to know how their senators vote on some of the most important issues facing the country.
If Manchin, Sinema and Senate Republicans want to sink the Build Back Better package and then vote against individual bills that do exactly what the American people want: lower the cost of prescription drugs, demand that the wealthy pay their fair tax share, expand Medicare, improve home health care, extend child tax credit, build affordable housing, address child poverty crisis, make extremely expensive child care affordable and fight against climate change, they should have this opportunity. And then they can go home and try to explain their vote to their constituents. This is what democracy is supposed to be.
The Democrats will not win in 2022 with a demoralized base. There must be energy and excitement. Today, in these trying times, the American people want to know that their elected officials have the courage to take on powerful special interests and fight for their needs.
And, when we do that, the fundamental differences between the two sides will become crystal clear. That’s how you win elections.