Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that there could be some "give and take" on lowering the $3.5 trillion price tag for the Democrats' reconciliation bill after centrist Democrats and progressives came to a deadlock on key infrastructure legislation last week.
The Vermont socialist told ABC's This Week co-anchor Jonathan Karl that he is aware progressives aren't going to achieve the full amount they desire to address all the social spending priorities they seek from the reconciliation package, which has been touted as a key piece of legislation for President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda.
“What the president has said is that there's going to have to be some give and take, and I think that that's right. I think if anything, Jonathan, when we especially talk about the crisis of climate change and the need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, the $6 trillion that I originally proposed was probably too little,” Sanders told Karl on Sunday. “Three and a half trillion should be a minimum, but I accept that there's gonna have to be give and take.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders tells @jonkarl that the $3.5 trillion budget resolution price tag will likely be lowered.
“The $3.5 trillion should be a minimum, but I accept that there's gonna have to be give and take.” https://t.co/5MGcXtm7a4 pic.twitter.com/efP8oRyu7m
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 3, 2021
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus refuse to vote for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which has already passed the Senate with bipartisan support, until the reconciliation package gets a Senate vote. They seek leverage to keep the reconciliation bill from being watered down or abandoned altogether if infrastructure passes immediately.
"What matters is that we do it and do it well," Sanders told NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. Asked whether the deadlines to pass both spending measures were artificial, the Vermont independent responded, "Of course they are."
"When we do both these pieces of legislation, I think the American people are going to say, 'Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Democrats in the Congress.' And by the way, where the hell were the Republicans in not having the guts to stand up to powerful special thefts," Sanders said.
But centrist Democrats in the Senate are the key figures blocking the two massive spending bills from passing.
Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona object to the cost of the reconciliation bill and some of its contents — Manchin has proposed a $1.5 trillion top line as an alternative. Democrats need both senators’ votes to pass the bill through the divided Senate.
"This is not a wish list," Sanders told NBC in response to Republican criticism that the reconciliation package consists of Democratic policy goals. "This is what the working families of this country want and what the economy needs."
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese