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Sanders says Biden can’t count on him to support ‘almost any’ spending package compromise

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gives an opening statement during a hearing to discuss President Biden's budget request for FY 2022 on Tuesday, June 8, 2020 .
Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday said President Biden cannot count on him to support “almost any” compromise social spending and climate package the Senate cobbles together, emphasizing that he must review the details of a proposal before deciding if he can vote for it.

Asked by moderator Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if Biden can count on his vote “with almost any compromise” the president arrives at with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sanders said, “Absolutely not.”

“You’re going to have to look at what that so-called compromise is. If it’s strong, if it protects the needs of working people, if it deals with climate, I’m there. But we have to look at the details of any proposal,” he added.

The Democrats’ social spending and climate package is currently stalled in the Senate because of opposition from Republicans and Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-W.Va.). The two centrist Democrats were unable to get on board with the package despite weeks of negotiations between the White House and Capitol Hill.

Democrats are now considering passing the legislation in sections that have support in the upper chamber. Sanders’s comments, however, further muddy the water for Biden’s chances of passing one of his marquee bills, putting the senator’s support of a final compromise bill in question.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” co-anchor Dana Bash also asked Sanders to respond to Biden’s comment during a news conference last week that “I like him, but I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m not a socialist” when pressed on his first-year policy initiatives.

Sanders on Sunday said, “I like him, but I’m not Joe Biden” before noting their “strong differences” when it comes to legislation addressing problems that Americans face.

“I’m a progressive who believes that the Democratic Party should make it clear that we are prepared to take on powerful special interests like the drug companies, like the insurance companies, like the fossil fuel industry, that we have to demand that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes,” Sanders said.

“So, look, I think President Biden has done something quite unusual. He has taken a hard look at the problems facing the American people. He’s brought forth legislation to try to address that, and I respect that, but obviously we have our strong differences,” he added.

Tags Bernie Sanders Chuck Todd Dana Bash Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema

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