Despite opposition from the party, Sen. Bernie Sanders recently insisted that the Senate has the ability to set out a framework to allow for a reconciliation bill which would be approved by all 50 Democrat senators. Sanders is the chairman of the Budget Committee, which has put him in a prime position to negotiate between disparate elements of the Democrat party. Two notable holdouts Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have made specific demands that are in direct contradiction to major components of the bill.
Sanders insists that we must focus on the bill’s agenda – and specifically the potential impact on drug prices. This is a topic Sanders has been vocally against for many years. Sanders told “State of the Union” host Dana Bash that he did not believe it was about Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin. “It’s about 50 senators, and the outrage,” Sanders said.
Sanders echoed familiar speeches from his past campaign trails that the top richest people in the world have earned billions in outrageous amounts of compensation. He pointed out how the problem right now is that the pharmaceutical industry is doing everything it can to ensure that one in four Americans cannot afford a prescription.
Sinema has been particularly vocal against policies that lower drug prices. Her position has led to harassment by progressive protesters who confronted Sinema at airports and on college campuses.
Manchin and Sinema are threatening to block a bill that would require every non-Republican vote in order to pass it in the Senate. But Sanders believes that the party can come up with a “framework” to allow all 50 senators to agree on.
Sanders stated that he believes there has to be a framework that we all agree upon in the Senate. He said this would be implemented before members of the House vote, adding that it will provide a framework on a piece on paper that would state what the bill is.
Sanders adds that you don’t need to have all of the legislative languages, but that you must have a statement with “A, B, C, D, and E” that is going to be included in the package. He said that is the only way that 50 senators are going to support the package.
Sanders acknowledged that the process was “not easy” but said it was worth the effort to put together the “most consequential piece of legislation in modern American history.” Sanders claimed that he worked all weekend to reach a deal and that they could vote on the bill this week.