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Sanders says Biden sees progressives as 'strong part of his coalition'

Sanders says Biden sees progressives as 'strong part of his coalition'
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi pushes for drug pricing measure amid uncertainty from White House White House sees GOP proposal as legitimate starting point The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' MORE (I-Vt.) said that President Bidensees the progressive movement as a strong part of his coalition,” even as recent debates over the federal minimum wage and coronavirus relief have revealed some divisions between liberal and more centrist Democrats. 

In an interview with The New York Times published Tuesday, Sanders, a leading voice on the left, said congressional Democrats are largely united with the Biden administration in efforts to respond to the health care and economic crises fueled by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The new Senate Budget Committee chairman, citing the the large portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt opposite the Resolute Desk that he saw when he walked into his first Oval Office meeting with Biden last week, told the Times, “President Biden understands that, like Roosevelt, he has entered office at a time of extraordinary crises and that he is prepared to think big and not small in order to address the many, many problems facing working families.” 

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“There is an understanding that if we’re going to address the crises facing this country, we’re all in it together,” Sanders added. 

Biden’s former 2020 Democratic presidential primary opponent added that already in the president’s first three weeks in office, he has spoken frequently with him, as well as White House chief of staff Ron KlainRon KlainBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Left feels empowered after Biden backtracks on refugees Media complicity in rise of the 'zombie president' conspiracy MORE, with Sanders saying that his calls to the White House have been returned “very shortly.”

Biden, Sanders said, "sees the progressive movement as a strong part of his coalition” and “is reaching out to us and is adopting some of the ideas that we have put forth that make sense in terms of today’s crises.” 

Despite opposition from Republicans, Democrats appear largely united in their effort to advance Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, as well as in a collective desire to hold former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: LeBron James's 'racist rants' are divisive, nasty North Carolina man accused of fraudulently obtaining .5M in PPP loans Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies MORE accountable in his Senate impeachment trial this week. 

Trump faces a single article of impeachment after the House accused him with inciting the violent Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which led to the deaths of five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Two additional officers who responded to the rioting have since died by suicide. 

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However, Sanders over the weekend condemned some fellow Democrats who he says are looking to lower the income eligibility thresholds for coronavirus stimulus checks from $75,000 to $50,000 for individuals and from $150,000 to $100,000 for couples. 

On Thursday, the Senate voted 99-1 on an amendment from Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money: White House sees GOP infrastructure plan as starting point | Biden to propose capital gains tax hike House approves bill to make DC a state NRA unveils ad campaign to push back on Biden's gun agenda MORE (D-W.Va.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill Senate to vote next week on repealing Trump methane rule  MORE (R-Maine) related to "targeting" the checks and making sure that "upper-income taxpayers are not eligible."

The moves come as the addition of two new Democratic moderates to the upper chamber — Sens. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperDNC taps veteran campaign hands for communications staff Harris casts tiebreaking vote to advance Biden nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP draws line on taxes; nation braces for Chauvin verdict MORE (Colo.) and Mark KellyMark KellyConservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee House Democrats eye passing DC statehood bill for second time Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act MORE (Ariz.) — has strengthened the centrist wing of the caucus.

Manchin and other moderates have signaled opposition to raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is currently part of Biden’s coronavirus relief package, despite having support from Sanders and other powerful progressives in both chambers of Congress.