Bernie Sanders pummels Manchin's inflation deal for 2nd day in a row, saying it does 'virtually nothing' to help families

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to criticize the Democrats' proposed $740 billion package.

  • "It falls far short of what the American people want, what they need," the Senator said Wednesday.

  • Despite Sanders' reservations, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is expected to be the pivotal vote.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont continues lambasting the $740 billion climate, energy, and tax package that Democrats are hoping to pass in the coming days, arguing it doesn't amount to major relief to American families.

"As currently written, this is an extremely modest bill that does virtually nothing to address the enormous crises facing the working families of our country," Sanders said in a Wednesday floor speech. "It falls far short of what the American people want, what they need, and what they are begging us to do."

It marks the second day in a row that the Vermont independent has advocated for a wide range of Democratic initiatives from the now-defunct Build Back Better Act — including the extension of the child tax credit, universal pre-K, medicare expansion, and tuition-free community college. With regards to climate change, Sanders read a letter Wednesday from the Center for Biological Diversity that called the proposed bill a "climate suicide pact."

"In my view, we have got to do everything possible to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry, not give billions of dollars in corporate welfare to an industry that has been destroying our planet," the Senator said.

Through a process called budget reconciliation, Senate Democrats can pass the $740 billion package with a simple majority in the evenly-split Senate. But all 50 Senate Democrats must be on board for the bill to clear the Senate and reach President Joe Biden's desk.

With Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia in support, many have speculated the pivotal vote will be that of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who has not said whether she will support the bill. The Arizona Democrat reportedly wants to cut a measure in the legislation that would narrow the carried interest loophole and also seeks $5 billion in additional drought resiliency funding.

Despite Sanders' reservations with the legislation, he is ultimately expected to support it, but he hasn't provided a firm answer.

"Well, right now we're taking a hard look," the Senator said yesterday when asked about his support for the bill. "And what I will tell you is we're going to offer amendments to improve it … and we will see what happens."

Sanders announced he plans to introduce several amendments for lawmakers to consider during the Senate "vote-a-rama," a marathon session of amendment votes that could end up changing the legislation. Among those proposals is ensuring Medicare pays the same amount for prescription drugs as the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

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