Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended Senate Democrats’ possible use of “reconciliation” Sunday after criticizing Republicans for using it.
Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash, during an appearance on “State of the Union” that “the devil is in the details.” He then proceeded to explain why reconciliation — a tool that was that allows the Senate to pass certain revenue, spending and budget matters with just a simple majority of 51 — was an acceptable alternative for Democrats in 2021 when he had opposed Republicans for using it just a few years earlier. (RELATED: ‘What Is The Problem?’: Bernie Sanders Waves Trump Tweet At Mitch McConnell, Demands Vote On $2,000 Checks)
“You mentioned Republicans have used the so-called reconciliation process before, like in 2017 to try to kill Obamacare. You accused them of abusing the process back then,” Bash began. “You said, quote, the function of reconciliation is to adjust federal spending and revenue not to enact major changes in policy.”
Bash then went on to point out that Sanders has already suggested he would push to use reconciliation for issues such as universal pre-K and child care or paid family medical leave.
“How is that not what you criticized the Republicans for doing?” she asked.
“The devil is in the details of what we want to do and when,” Sanders replied, going on to suggest that the use of reconciliation was acceptable because it was an emergent situation and people needed direct payments and access to the coronavirus vaccine.
“Then as soon as that is done, we have to rebuild this economy. Unemployment is much, much too high. Wages are much, much too low. There are structural problems that we have had, have ignored for years. Climate change is a reality,” Sanders continued.
“And you are doing all of that through this process you criticized Republicans for using?” Bash pushed back, adding, “These are major policy changes.”
“These are major policy changes, but the devil is in the details,” Sanders repeated, arguing that Republicans were wrong to use reconciliation because they had done so in order to secure tax breaks for billionaires and he planned to use it to help people.
“If they want to criticize me for helping to feed children who are hungry or senior citizens in this country who are isolated and alone and don’t have enough food they can criticize me,” Sanders concluded. “I think it is the appropriate step forward.”