‘Filibernie’: Sanders rips tax deal for more than eight hours

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) railed against President Obama’s tax-cut package in a lengthy floor speech Friday. 

Sanders, one of the Senate’s leading liberals, is protesting Obama’s deal with Republicans, which would extend tax cuts that were initially signed by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003. 

Sanders began his speech on Friday at 10:24 a.m. and wrapped up just before 7 p.m. He has threatened to filibuster the Obama-GOP deal when it is brought to the Senate floor next week. 

“You can call what i am doing today whatever you want, you it [sic] call it a filibuster, you can call it a very long speech … ,” read a message posted on Sanders’s Twitter account after he’d taken to the rostrum.

{mosads}”I’m not here to set any great records or to make a spectacle,” Sanders said at the top of his speech. “I am simply here today to take as long as I can to explain to the American people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement provides.”

Sanders captured Washington’s attention with his old-school filibuster of the tax deal. Media outlets buzzed about his speech and Sanders’s name became the sixth most popular topic on Twitter. A nickname for his speech, the “Filibernie,” went viral with Beltway reporters.

According to Sanders’s office, the Senate TV server was temporarily shut down because of the overwhelming number of people trying to watch. 

Sanders has said he will do “whatever it takes” to block the deal, “including a filibuster.” His speech Friday covered a variety of topics, including a detailed case for more infrastructure investment, higher corporate tax rates and reducing the federal budget deficit. 

The Vermont senator took aim at Wall Street bankers and the wealthy, who he says will be the beneficiaries of the policy.

“How can I get by on one house?” Sanders said. “I need five houses, ten houses! I need three jet planes to take me all over the world! Sorry, American people. We’ve got the money, we’ve got the power, we’ve got the lobbyists here and on Wall Street. Tough luck. That’s the world, get used to it. Rich get richer. Middle-class shrinks.”

Two Democratic senators, liberal Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and centrist Mary Landrieu (La.), joined Sanders on the floor in colloquy to support Sanders. Both senators have said they oppose the Obama tax plan, and Landrieu called it “almost morally corrupt.”

The record for the longest filibuster is held by the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), who spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes to block a landmark civil rights bill.

— This post was originally posted at 10:37 a.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Mary Landrieu Sherrod Brown

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