Sanders: Congress Must Not Break Until it Deals With Major Crises

BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 18 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Monday regarding the end-of-year spending bill:

"As I have stated many times, Congress must not break for recess unless it addresses some of the major crises facing this country. While Republicans believe that tax breaks for billionaires and large corporations is the nation's major priority, I strongly disagree. Here are some of the issues that Congress must deal with now.

"We must act now to prevent 800,000 Dreamers, young people who were raised in this country and know no other home, from losing their legal status. Any end of the year spending agreement must address the fear and uncertainty unnecessarily caused by the administration's reckless actions, and a clean Dream Act must be signed into law.

"We must not allow 9 million children to lose their health insurance because the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has not been re-funded. As of December 6th, nine states have already exhausted their 2017 funding, and 16 more states will exhaust their funding by the end of next month. Full funding for CHIP must be reauthorized.

"It has been more than two months since funding for the Community Health Center program has lapsed. If we do not act very soon, health care for the 27 million Americans who utilize community health centers will be threatened. Lives will be lost. Unnecessary suffer will occur. The community health center program must be fully funded.

"If Congress does not act soon, the earned pension benefits of more than 1.5 million workers and retirees in multi-employer pension plans could be cut by up to 60 percent. When a worker is promised a pension benefit after a lifetime of hard work that promise must be kept. Congress needs to act before the end of the year to make sure that no American in a multi-employer pension plan will see their pension cut."

Sanders and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) authored an op-ed in The New York Times Monday detailing the priorities that should be at the top of Congress' agenda at the end of the year.