Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, is making his position clear against not only his GOP colleagues but also the two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). Sanders began his criticism focusing on the opposition that the Republicans are bringing to the senate, but he had some choice words for the Democratic Party as well.
Senator Sanders was talking with CNN anchor Dana Bash of Sunday’s “State of the Union” show. Bash began asking the senator about the present situation on Capitol Hill and the hard time that President Joe Biden’s administration was having with their key pieces of legislation.
Bernie Sanders did not waste any time before he began pointing his fingers at his GOP colleagues who stood in the way of Biden’s Build Back Better plan as well as the president’s hope to overhaul election law at the federal level. He said that the 50 Republicans in the evenly divided senate have made it their mission to obstruct the president and his main agenda.
Dana Bash started the conversation by expressing her hope that Biden would have a better 2022, even though the year has not started well for the president. She talked about Biden’s two biggest legislative goals being stalled in part by Manchin and Sinema and their refusal to allow any changes to the filibuster rule.
Bash asked Sanders how frustrated he was that the two Democrats did not get on board with the White House agenda. Sanders side-stepped the questions and focused on the 50 Republicans who he said were completely focused on pushing an anti-democratic agenda. Sanders flat out said that the GOP was opposing the efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand Medicare to include dental, hearing, and eye care. He blamed the GOP for not wanting to improve home health care and child care. And he also went after the Republicans for refusing to deal with the threat of climate change.
“You have 50 Republicans who don’t want to do anything except criticize the president. You have, sadly enough, two Democrats who choose to work with the Republicans rather than the president and who have sabotaged the president’s efforts to address the needs of working families in this country. Is it frustrating? It sure is,” Sanders said.
Bernie believes that the next step should be to force a vote and make the GOP go on record with what they are voting against. He also said that if Manchin and Sinema were to vote along with them, the American people would see it.
Bash brought up the fact that the Arizona Democratic Party had recently censured Sinema. She asked Sanders whether he believed it was an appropriate action. Sanders immediately responded that it was appropriate. He went further saying that 19 states in this country were undermining the foundations of American democracy. He blamed these states for making it harder for people of color, young people, and people with disabilities to vote. Sanders said it was important to protect American democracy and stand up to the big lie of Trump and his allies who believe he won the elections. He believes that the Arizona Democrats did the exact right thing.
That’s when Dana Bash took a major step forward in her conversation with Sanders. She asked in Vermont senator would be willing to campaign against either Senator Sinema or Senator Manchin in a Democratic primary?
Sanders did not immediately jump on board by saying that neither was up for reelection until 2024. But then he made his position very clear.
“If there were strong candidates in those states who were prepared to stand up for working families, who understand the Democratic Party has got to be the party of working people, taking on big-money interests, if those candidates were there in Arizona and West Virginia, yes, I would be happy to support them,” Sanders explained.