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

08/26/19

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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 Warren (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 Schumer (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

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