Sanders ripped up Manchin’s surprise deal as nowhere near up to par
- Sanders attacked Manchin’s bill Tuesday night as woefully inadequate.
- He urged Democrats to change the bill because it omitted many programs like child care.
- Manchin’s bill also excluded universal pre-K, student debt relief and the Biden child tax credit.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont tore up the $740 billion climate, energy and tax package that Democrats hope to pass within days. He said he abandoned a wide range of Democratic initiatives at the heart of the defunct $2 trillion Build Back Better Act approved by the House.
“At a time when the United States has the highest child poverty rate of almost any major nation in the world, this bill does not extend the $300 per month per child tax credit you had last year,” the Vermont Independent said in a Tuesday. evening speech, referring to the monthly cash payment program that expired last year.
“If you are a parent who today pays $15,000 a year for child care, the average cost in America, this bill completely ignores this crisis and does absolutely nothing for you,” he said. he said, pointing to the provision of last year’s House bill establishing affordable child care fees. to a maximum of 8.5% of family income.
Sanders also touched on other proposals that were dropped from the package. Those included:
- Universal preschool
- Expanding Medicare to Cover Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefits
- Tuition-Free Community College
- Home care for the elderly
- Affordable Housing Fund
He also had other complaints about the bill. Sanders said the provision for Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs was both “extremely weak” and “extremely complex.” But he acknowledged there were “some good and important” climate programs while disparaging a program Manchin had secured to release more oil and gas concessions.
Sanders had long pushed for an expansive social and climate bill, which at one point totaled $6 trillion in spending over ten years. The party agreed to a $3.5 trillion spending plan last summer. This was further reduced in the fall of 2021 until Manchin completed it at the end of the year.
Senate Democrats are using a maneuver called budget reconciliation to avoid a Republican filibuster and pass the bill by a simple majority in the equally divided Senate. But the 50 Democrats in the Senate must unite around the bill to possibly send it to President Joe Biden for his signature.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Manchin had reached a spending deal “that only Bernie Sanders would like.” That seems like a stretch given that Sanders didn’t call for an immediate vote.
“Now is the time for every member of the Senate to carefully study this bill and offer amendments and suggestions on how we can improve it,” Sanders said. wrote on Twitter.