Sanders and the Senate

By Madeleine Stiffler

As of October 31, the total of fifty Democrats in the Senate must reach an agreement regarding the ginormous economic bill before the House votes upon it, according to Senator and Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders

Sanders stated, “I think there has got to be a framework agreed upon in the Senate that all of us know is going to be implemented before the members of the House vote,” the independent progressive declared on “State of the Union.” Further elaborating on the teamwork that Democrats have to put on display, Sanders highlighted the fact that a clear common ground has to be established in order for the bill to be successful in the Senate. 

Senator Sanders comments follow House Democratic leaders alluding to their aim to receive votes on not only the $1.2 trillion economic bill but also a much larger one at $1.75 trillion. 

Currently, the framework of the economic bill consists of large expansion but Sanders, an advocate for Medicare expansion as well as drug pricing reform, claimed he had been making calls all weekend to try and ensure those issues are included in the House version of the economic and infrastructure bill. 

The race to gain votes from those holding out on the bill will hopefully come to an end soon. For instance, Democrats and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a key holdout, have been in conversation and the Dems believe that she will conclusively support the economic bill, according to multiple sources and reports to CNN. Another key holdout, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, has yet to clearly inform the public on his stance regarding the bill, but he indicated that he was supportive of the $1.75 trillion package, which is higher than his initial agreed-upon number. 

Questioned if the House would hold off on voting until Sinema and Kyrsten agreed to a proposal, Sanders made clear “Well, I think that the House is, I think we can put that together within the next short period of time.” 

California Rep. Ro Khanna, a progressive House Democrat, declared that he will vote for the economic and bipartisan infrastructure bills when they likely reach the House floor. When asked if he would vote “yes” on both bills, Khanna stated on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “The President has shown patient and extraordinary leadership. It’s time for this party to get together and deliver…” As Khanna was questioned about Sanders statements regarding an attempt to include additional provisions into the legislation, he certainly claimed that he still believes a vote will be held on Tuesday, November 2. Democratic leaders had previously attempted to call for a vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill after President Joe Biden’s look-in on the caucus, but it did not produce enough cohesive support. Once both bills pass the house, the infrastructure bill will make its way to President Biden’s desk to receive his signature, and the economic bill would find its place in the Senate to be voted upon.