Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., confirmed he plans to play an active role in shaping the Biden administration’s agenda, and that he will use his powers as Senate Budget Committee chairman to push it through.
During an interview with CNN on Sunday, Sanders said he will not hesitate to use budget reconciliation, a procedure that allows senators to approve certain tax and spending bills with a simple majority instead of the 60-vote threshold needed for most legislation.
“Now, as you know, reconciliation, which is a Senate rule, was used by the Republicans under Trump to pass massive tax breaks for the rich and corporations. It was used as an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And what we’re saying is ‘You used for that. That’s fine. We are going to use reconciliation. … You did it. We’re going to do it to protect ordinary people, not the rich and the powerful,'” Sanders said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): “We’re gonna push Joe — the president — as far as we can, but given the fact that he’s been in office for less than a week, I think he is off to a good start.” pic.twitter.com/Mwq8Xnc3db
— The Recount (@therecount) January 24, 2021
Sanders said Democrats will almost certainly set the terms of budget reconciliation if Republicans do not support another coronavirus relief package.
“The American people are hurting, and they want us to act,” he continued. ”We have got to restore the faith of the American people in government that we can respond to their pain.”
Several progressives believe Sanders’s position as Budget Committee Chairman will give congressional leftists real negotiating power, since Democrats will need to keep the entire caucus on board given the party’s razor think majority in the Senate.
“What Bernie Sanders being Budget chair means is that there will be at least one strong advocate in the room for the maximalist equation,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said.