‘Not this time’: Sanders blasts lobbyists plans targeting Democrats’ spending bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks with reporters on July 12 at the Capitol after meeting with President Biden at the White House to discuss various economic issues
Greg Nash

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took aim at business lobbyists targeting a $3.5 trillion spending package being drafted by Democrats that would raise taxes on the wealthy to help cover costs for funding boosts in areas related to climate change, education, and other party-backed priorities.

“This is what oligarchy and a corrupt political system are all about. The rich and large corporations get richer, and their lobbyists do everything possible to protect their wealth and greed. Not this time,” Sanders tweeted. “We must pass a Reconciliation Bill that works for all, not just the few.”

Sanders was responding to a recent report from The Washington Post detailing plans by groups like Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers and RATE Coalition, to campaign against proposed tax hikes in the spending package and other components.

Democrats are putting together the spending package they aim to pass without Republican support through a process called reconciliation, which will allow them to bypass the filibuster in the Senate.

While the legislation is still being drafted, Democratic leaders say it will unlock funding for healthcare expansions, universal pre-K and tuition-free community college, as well as investments in areas like public housing and clean energy efforts.

To offset the spending, Democrats say they plan to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations. The spending plan has garnered significant backing from Sanders and other progressives, though the price tag and proposed tax hikes have raised concerns among moderates.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has also come out against the proposed tax increases and overall cost of the forthcoming package, recently ran ads supporting moderate House Democrats that urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to a vote after it passed the Senate this month.

The push came as progressives have instead called on leadership to hold off on passing the infrastructure bill until the chamber passes the reconciliation package, expressing concerns about the larger bill’s chances of passage if the bipartisan measure is already approved.

Industry lobbyists have only grown more optimistic after a budget showdown between centrist and party leadership last week lead to Pelosi striking a deal that tied the chamber to a vote next month on the bipartisan bill.

Tags Bernie Sanders Nancy Pelosi
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