Democratic socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed back Sunday on CNN anchor Dana Bash, telling her not to pit him against Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
Sanders joined Bash on “State of the Union” to discuss the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package that Manchin has said repeatedly he could not support. (RELATED: ‘Hell No, Bernie’: Joe Manchin Recalls Moment He Debated With Sen. Sanders Over $3.5 Trillion Bill)
Bash noted that Manchin had already said he would not support the package with the current $3.5 trillion price tag — Sanders said that was “unacceptable” — and then pivoted to address some of the specific items Manchin had said he would not vote for.
“Senator Manchin said pretty explicitly he’s opposed to the clean energy provisions you are going to put into this bill,” Bash said, detailing a few other issues that Manchin had with the bill. “This isn’t about the overall dollar figure or the timeline. It’s a disagreement, a pretty deep disagreement about some of the fundamental priorities you have been talking about. How do you bridge that?”
Sanders skipped over Bash’s question about reaching out to Manchin, and instead attacked Senate Republicans for not supporting the reconciliation package.
“We’re talking about Mr. Manchin, but the real outrage is that we’ve got not one Republican who is prepared to extend the $300 direct payment for working parents so they can raise their children in security and dignity,” he said.
“But the broader question is, the real differences on the question of your priorities here. But also just the raw math. You mentioned Republicans not being on board. I don’t need to tell you, this is a 50/50 Senate. If Senator Manchin or even Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona doesn’t vote for this, you won’t get the votes. How do you get there? Are you willing to compromise on any of this?” Bash pushed back.
“I did,” Sanders objected.
“I know you did. Additionally,” Bash continued to press.
“No, no, don’t make this a Bernie Sanders versus Joe Manchin issue. It’s not —” Sanders argued.
“I’m not trying to,” Bash said.
“Dana, Dana, Dana,” Sanders continued.
“I don’t mean to make it about you. Just how do you, the Democratic leadership and the White House, get to a place where there is something that can be done?” Bash asked.
Sanders said that he expected the American people to speak out in support of the plan, putting pressure on their senators to get it passed.
“It would be a terrible thing for the American people if both of those bills fail. They are linked together. They’re going to go forward together,” he concluded.