WASHINGTON, March 27 – After trying repeatedly to persuade Senate Republicans to amend their budget to benefit families and seniors, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today voted against it and dismissed it as a ‘rich-get-richer’ plan.
Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, raised several amendments to improve the budget but was rebuffed along partisan lines; it passed 52-46.
“When you look at this budget, you can see how Republicans turn the equation upside down,” Sanders said. “The reality is that the American middle class has been shrinking steadily and there is nothing in here to address that. You can see that at a time of massive income inequality, the Republicans believe that a rich-get-richer approach fits best. At a time when real unemployment is more than 11 percent, Republicans believe that we should do nothing to create jobs or invest in infrastructure.”
The budget fight marked the first time an Independent senator has led floor debate on behalf of the Democratic caucus. Sanders’ amendments to improve the resolution opened the debate on Tuesday and were the first votes taken during the vota-a-rama session yesterday.
Sanders spearheaded middle class efforts on the following topics:
- Increasing investments in infrastructure by closing offshore tax loopholes.
- Preventing any cuts to Medicaid beneficiaries.
- Hiring more health professionals to assist Veterans (approved on a bi-partisan vote).
- Reducing emissions to fight climate change.
- Increasing the minimum wage.
Earlier this week, the House approved a similar budget resolution. In April, the House and Senate will meet to negotiate a compromise version of the budget resolution for the next fiscal year and Sanders said he will press for more changes to the final version.