Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders accused two of his fellow senators Wednesday of sabotaging the $3.5 trillion spending package during a 15-minute tirade.
Sanders criticized Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of holding the spending plan hostage despite 48 other senators and President Joe Biden supporting it.
“Two people do not have the right to sabotage what 48 want, what the president of the United States wants. That, to me, is wrong,” Sanders said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Two people do not have the right to sabotage what 48 want and what the President of the United States wants.” pic.twitter.com/ZxVEUcUYIh
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) October 7, 2021
Manchin and Sinema have both been outspoken about their opposition to the massive spending package, with Manchin wanting to cut it down to $1.5 trillion and warning that an expensive reconciliation budget would create an “entitlement mentality.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) says his maximum number for reconciliation is $1.5 trillion because he wants to avoid “changing our whole society to an entitlement mentality.” pic.twitter.com/ylwVUrCf7H
— The Recount (@therecount) September 30, 2021
Sanders shot back at Manchin’s prediction Wednesday.
“Is protecting working families and cutting childhood poverty an ‘entitlement?'”
“Does Sen. Manchin really believe that seniors are not entitled to digest their food, and that they’re not entitled to hear and see properly?” Sanders pressed. The package would expand Medicare to cover vision, dental and hearing aids. “Is that really too much to ask in the richest country on Earth – that elderly people have teeth in their mouth and can see and can hear?”
Sanders then reiterated his support for a “single-payer program.” (RELATED: Here’s How Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema Fare In Their Own States)
Manchin said Wednesday he supports helping seniors and young children but didn’t specify what that meant. He also expressed support for lowering drug prices and tax reform, both of which Sanders spoke about during his 15-minute speech.
Sinema, meanwhile, has been outspoken for weeks about the high price tag of the reconciliation package, saying in July she would “work in good faith to develop this legislation.”
Sinema has been subject to several protests, including one in a bathroom, by left wing activists demanding to know why she won’t support several provisions of the package.
The senator also alleged Democrats were holding “hostage” the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by tying it to the $3.5 trillion spending bill.