Highlights from Sanders' Filibuster
December 20, 2010
At 10:24 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, Sen. Sanders took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to lay out a clear argument against extending tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, against codifying a low inheritance tax rate which would impact only the richest 0.3 percent of households, and against a payroll tax “holiday” which would undercut funding for the Social Security trust fund. Without a break, the senator remained standing and on the Senate floor for 8 hours, 35 mins., and 14 secs.
Highlights from the Sanders filibuster are below. At the bottom you can find links to the entire video and transcript. A summary of news coverage is available here.
Defending Social Security
The senator discussed the importance of Social Security and its 75 year track record of success. He argued that a payroll tax holiday would, for the first time, divert money away from the Social Security trust fund. Conservatives have long fought for such a “holiday” as a way of destabilizing this highly successful program – and it is naïve to believe that the Republicans will not call for the holiday to be made permanent when it is about to expire.
China, China, China
General Electric received billions in bailout funds from the American tax payer yet their leadership continues to insist on focusing on outsourcing jobs to “China, China, China, China, China.”
The Sickness of Greed
At a time when the nation faces the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world, Sanders fails to understand why the wealthiest people in American continue to cry for more tax breaks. He asks, “When is enough enough?”
This section of the senator’s speech was also remixed into a song and music video available here
Middle Class Collapse
The senator read from a booklet he put together of letters from Vermonters and people across the country facing devastating economic conditions.
Sanders yielded the floor at about 7 p.m. Friday night but he continued to fight against the tax break agreement and for a better way forward. Sanders proposed an amendment to the legislation.
Sanders Proposes A Better Way Forward
A few days after his filibuster, Sanders spoke in support of his proposed amendment to the legislation. The Sanders amendment would have let tax cuts expire for couples earning more than $250,000, set a higher estate tax on heirs of the super-wealthy, and provided Social Security recipients with a $250 payment going into the second straight year without a cost-of-living adjustment. The amendment received 43 votes and was one of only three amendments voted on. Although it lost, the impressive showing signaled substantial discontent with the take-it-or-leave-it deal that the White House negotiated with congressional Republicans.