Budget Agreement Advances in Senate

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted today to advance a House-passed budget agreement that averts another government shutdown and rejects proposals to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

“This was a difficult vote for me. The bill achieves the bare minimum that Americans expect of Congress but does not address the most important problems that our country is facing,” Sanders said.

“The budget keeps the government running and avoids threatened cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And by partially ending sequestration, it also will allow modest increases in funding for programs that are important to many Vermonters like Head Start, Meals on Wheels, low-income heating assistance and education,” Sanders said.

“But at a time when Americans are clear about the need to create millions of new jobs, this bill does nothing about high unemployment. In fact, it doesn’t even help the 1.3 million Americans who are about to lose their unemployment benefits,” Sanders added.

“As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I also am disappointed that my Republican colleagues continue to protect corporate loopholes which are costing us about $100 billion every single year. Instead, at a time of growing income and wealth inequality, this budget bill doesn’t ask the wealthy and profitable corporations to pay a nickel more in taxes,” Sanders said.

Sanders was in the 67-33 Senate majority to advance the bill that is expected to win final passage on Wednesday and go to the White House for President Barack Obama’s approval.