Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders argued that Democrats should use the reconciliation process to pass $3.5 trillion in new government spending if Republicans oppose it.
“We need structural reforms to improve the lives of U.S. families,” he claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday. “If Democrats can’t get Republican support for these reforms, then we have to do it alone through the reconciliation process.”
From @WSJopinion: The $3.5 trillion reconciliation package is a large and unprecedented piece of legislation. But we are living in an unprecedented moment. Now is the time for bold action, writes Bernie Sanders. https://t.co/5a0CyrPLV3
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 3, 2021
Sanders wrote that, unlike Republicans, Democrats will use reconciliation to “to support the middle class and struggling families and, in the process, create millions of good-paying jobs.” He names programs such as the Child Tax Credit, Medicare expansion, a Civilian Climate Corps, paid family leave, and the DREAM Act as intended to “address … long-neglected structural crises.”
Democrats will likely struggle to pass the reconciliation package, which also includes free community college and universal pre-kindergarten. Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has pledged to oppose “a bill that costs $3.5 trillion,” and fellow Democratic senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Kelly of Arizona have also expressed skepticism. (RELATED: Squad Rips Sinema For Opposition To $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Package)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said July 14 that the reconciliation package was “wildly out of proportion to what the country needs now” after Sanders and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced it.
Biden has claimed that the reconciliation package, which includes what he has termed “human infrastructure,” and a bipartisan infrastructure agreement have to be passed “in tandem.” Otherwise, he will veto the bipartisan agreement. Far-left Democrats in the House, led by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have promised to oppose the bipartisan deal unless the reconciliation package passes the Senate.
“We are living in an unprecedented moment,” Sanders concluded. “Now is the time for bold action.”