Sanders, Sullivan duel over the $3.5T budget reconciliation bill

As a vote on the $3.5 trillion dollar Reconciliation Bill nears Alaskan Senator Dan Sullivan responds to plans favored by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:49 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Dan Sullivan, who stand firmly on opposite sides of their respective political parties, plead their case for and against the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which could impact issues such as climate action, paid leave, child care, healthcare and education.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is pushing hard to get this legislation across the finish line and recently reached out to Alaska’s News Source to make his pitch to Alaskans.

“I think it’s simply explaining to the American people that the time is long overdue for all 50 states, that we start addressing the needs of real working families. Child care is a disaster, and we’re going to make pre-k universal and free. Do you really think in this country elderly people should not be able to chew their food because they can not afford dentures or dental care?” Sanders said. “We’ve got to deal with climate change and I know that some of my Republican colleagues don’t think climate change is real well I strongly disagree. We’re going to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in creating good jobs transforming our energy systems. These are necessities, these are not hey what a wonderful idea. We’ve got to do these things to protect the planet for future generations and to protect the needs of working families.”

Unlike the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, this reconciliation bill is highly partisan. In early August, the Senate passed a budget resolution 50-49 along party lines to set the stage for this bill.

Sen. Sullivan is ardently against the bill and spoke out against it when he visited the studio earlier this month.

“Look that’s just a socialist wish list run by Bernie Sanders who in many ways has more power than any other Senator, certainly more than Chuck Schumer, and that’s tax, spend. You know people are saying that’s $3.5 trillion, it’s actually more than that and just like I opposed the $2 trillion dollar package that Biden, Sanders, and Schumer put forward in February,” Sullivan said. “I’m going to fight like hell that we’re not going to implement socialism in America and that’s what that legislation is all about. If you look at it, the Green New Deal and everything else, it’s going to be horrible for Alaska, horrible for the country, and I’m going to fight like hell to prevent it.”

How much Sen. Sullivan, or any republican, will be able to do to prevent this bill from passing remains to be seen. For the majority, Democrats have the advantage of a reconciliation bill that can be filibustered in their favor.

However, there are reports from The Washington Post, The New York Times and other sources stating that there is some contention within the Democratic Party about when to bring the bill to an official vote. According to those reports, some moderates want to pass the Infrastructure Bill first, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to pass the two in tandem.

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