Hill.TV exclusive interview: Sanders slams McConnell's 'do nothing' Senate

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.) slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills MORE (R-Ky.) for "his obstructionism," saying "there's very little that's going on in the Senate."

“McConnell can vote any way he wants on an issue but what I find really outrageous and extremely undemocratic is his obstructionism and his refusal to allow major legislation to come to the floor for a debate and for a vote,” Sanders told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball during an interview that aired on Monday.

“So essentially while enormous problems face this country — everybody knows it, there’s very little that’s going in the Senate, it is a do nothing body and that is because of McConnell,” he continued.

Sanders called on voters in the Bluegrass State to “demand that their United States Senate allow real debate on the floor so that we can begin to do something to represent working families.”

McConnell's office replied to a request for comment by directing The Hill to a recent op-ed by the Senate majority leader published by Courier Journal in which he accused Democrats of proposing "job-killing" and "dangerous" ideas that would "raise your taxes and give the federal government vast control over your life." 

Sander’s comments came just moments after he took the stage at a campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, where made similar criticism of McConnell.

“I say here in Kentucky to Senator McConnell — stop blocking legislation from coming to the floor of the Senate,” the 2020 candidate told a crowd of supporters over the weekend, which prompted cheers.

In his interview with Hill.TV, Sanders emphasized that he is a supporter of “strong filibuster reform.”

The issue of filibuster reform has emerged as a key topic of debate in the crowded 2020 presidential primary field, which includes several Democratic senators.

Two of the top-tier progressive heavyweights — Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors MORE (D-Mass.) — have said that Democrats should end the 60-vote legislative filibuster if they recapture the Senate majority in the 2020 elections, and get the necessary votes to change the controversial rule.

Top Democratic leaders, meanwhile, have left the door open to getting rid of the filibuster.

In July, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters that his first focus was on winning back the majority and accomplishing that would mean that “nothing is off the table.”

—Tess Bonn