Bernie dumps on Dems’ ‘so called’ inflation bill as his amendments go down in humiliating flames

The Democratic party is desperate to form a winning narrative heading into the midterm elections and while a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris may have been enough to advance President Joe Biden’s stripped down “Build Back Better” agenda, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was quick to fact check the “so called Inflation Reduction Act” with a dose of reality.

 

After negotiations on the massive “Build Back Better” legislation fell apart when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) refused to budge on his opposition to pork barrel spending while Americans were coping with crippling inflation, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) brought the moderate, and fellow holdout Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), back into the Democratic fold with the 755-page Inflation Reduction Act.

On Saturday, Harris broke the tie on the procedural vote allowing 20 hours of debate to begin and for amendments to be introduced in a “vote-a-rama.” As this process carried on through the night, Sanders addressed the chamber for 38 minutes, according to the Washington Examiner, where he railed against the Democrats misnomered Inflation Reduction Act that he affirmed would do no such thing.

“I want to take a moment to say a few words about the so called Inflation Reduction act that we are debating this evening,” he began. “And I say ‘so called,’ by the way, because according to the [Congressional Budget Office], and other economic organizations that study this bill, it will, in fact, have a minimal impact on inflation.”

In fact, the CBO estimates that bill will only reduce the deficit by $100 billion over the next 10 years as opposed to the still paltry claim from Schumer and Manchin that it would actually be more than $300 billion.

Ahead of the tie-breaking vote Schumer had said, “The time has come for the Senate to begin debate on this historic piece of legislation. The Inflation Reduction Act is a groundbreaking bill for the American people, for families struggling to pay the bills, for seniors struggling to pay for medications, for kids struggling with asthma.”

But, Sanders, who had a number of proposed amendments shot down with votes of 1-99, 1-98 and 3-97, contended the senator from New York was blowing smoke. “If anybody thinks that as a result of this bill we’re going to see lower prices for Medicare, you are mistaken. It ain’t going to happen next year, the year after, or the year after.”

“And by the way, given the incredible power of the pharmaceutical industry, I would suspect even money that they will figure out a way to get around this provision if it takes four years to implement,” Sanders continued railing against the bill that only seemed to support special interests. “So this provision will have no impact on the prices for those Americans. Furthermore, this provision will have no impact on the prices for Americans who are not on Medicare.”

At one point, an unnamed Democratic senator could be heard on a hot mic essentially heckling Sanders by saying, “Come on, Bernie.”

He later went on to tell Fox News Digital, “What today is about is whether or not Democrats are going to stand up and fight, fight for amendments and support amendments which address some very critical needs of working families. The amendments that I will offer probably have the support of 70 to 80 percent of the American people,” Sanders claimed. “We will see how much support they will be getting.”

The consensus among Democrats voting against amendments that they presumably would otherwise be in favor of was, as Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) expressed, “It’s my view that this is the only deal that’s gonna get us 50 votes,” and changes would muck up the negotiated deal with Manchin and Sinema.

“It’s not the bill I would have written,” Markey confessed proving he and his caucus were towing the party line, “but it’s still a very good bill. So I want to make sure that we can maintain 50 votes on final passage.”

Despite Sanders grandstanding to promote his own progressive ideals, he voted yea on the procedural vote and is expected to vote in favor of the final bill when it is presented, most likely sometime Sunday afternoon.

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Kevin Haggerty

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