Sanders: We Will Use Reconciliation ‘to Pass Legislation Desperately Needed’ with 51 Votes

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) declared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Democrats will use the reconciliation process to pass bills with a simple 51 majority in the Senate to forward major legislation.

Sanders said, “What we have got to do is recognize right now we are living in an unprecedented moment in American history with the pandemic, economic collapse, climate change, crumbling infrastructure. We have millions of people working for starvation wages. What we have to do is roll up our sleeves and fight for the agenda that working people throughout this country want. They want to raise that minimum wage to $15 an hour. They want that direct payment of $1400 on top of the $600. We’ve got to do that. They understand that during the midst of the health care crisis, we cannot have millions of people being thrown out of their houses or lack health care. We have an enormous amount of work. You throw in impeachment and the need to get Biden’s nominees confirmed, it’s a lot of work that has to be done, and we have to roll up our sleeves and do it.”

Anchor Dana Bash said, “So you suggested Democrats might need to use a process called reconciliation, which requires only 51 votes instead of 60 to pass the coronavirus relief plan. You just heard Mitt Romney say Republicans like him have shown they are ready to compromise. Should Democrats move to pass coronavirus relief with 51 votes if they can’t get Republican support, say before the impeachment trial?”

Sanders said, “I don’t know what the word compromise means. I know working families are living today in more economic desperation than since the Great Depression. If Republicans are willing to work with us to address that crisis, welcome. Let’s do it. But what we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months and months to go forward. We have got to act now. That is what the American people want. 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 large corporations. It was used as an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and what we are saying is you used it for that, that’s fine. We’re going to use reconciliation, that is, 50 votes in the Senate plus the vice president, to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now. You did it. We’re going to do it. But we’re going to do it to protect ordinary people, not just the rich and powerful.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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