Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersShame on Biden for his Atlanta remarks — but are we surprised? Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE (I-Vt.) says he's open to paying visits to Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenate Democrats eye talking filibuster NAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Schumer tees up showdown on voting rights, filibuster MORE’s (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSenate Democrats eye talking filibuster NAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Schumer tees up showdown on voting rights, filibuster MORE’s (D-Ariz.) home states to pitch a $3.5 trillion social safety net package that would advance key parts of President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE’s legislative agenda.
Sanders made the remarks in an interview with Politico published Thursday as he ramps up travel to promote the massive spending bill, which Democrats hope to pass without Republican support using a process called budget reconciliation.
But Democrats will need every Democratic senator on board to pass the bill, and they've faced difficulties achieving unity among members on spending, including the $3.5 trillion price tag for the reconciliation package that both Manchin and Sinema have taken issue with.
By contrast, Sanders has remained steadfast on that dollar amount, calling the number, which is just over half as much as he initially proposed, “non-negotiable” in the new interview.
“Democrats have a very slim majority in the House. We have no majority in the Senate. That’s it. It is 50/50,” Sanders told the outlet. “Trust me, there are a lot of differences in the Senate among the Democrats.”
“But at the end of the day, every Democrat understands that it is terribly important that we support the president's agenda. And most of these ideas came from the White House,” he added.
Sanders’s itinerary has included places like Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and West Lafayette, Ind., in recent days as he hits the road to promote the package, which Democrats have said will unlock funding for universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, investments in clean energy efforts and health care expansions, among other top party priorities.
Despite differences amongst party members, Sanders expressed confidence in the recent interview that that the forthcoming spending package will still fetch the necessary votes to pass both chambers.
Sanders said that “every member of the caucus understands that ... this is transformative for the American people, it is the right thing to do.”
“And it is politically popular,” he added.
According to a USA Today-Suffolk University survey released Wednesday, a majority of Americans support the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, though some polled found the measure to be expensive.