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Bernie Sanders says he’s ‘tired of talking’ about Senate colleagues Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema

·2-min read
Reporters interview Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders on his way to the Senate Chamber for a vote in the US Capitol in Washington DC, USA, 16 June 2021.  (EPA)
Reporters interview Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders on his way to the Senate Chamber for a vote in the US Capitol in Washington DC, USA, 16 June 2021. (EPA)

Senator Bernie Sanders said he was tired of talking about fellow Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, both who have become objects of ire among Democrats for their ongoing obstruction to the party's legislative goals.

Mr Sanders made the comments on Wednesday during an interview on MSNBC.

"I'm tired of talking about Mr Manchin and Ms Sinema. We have got to do what we can to bring people together. The American people, I think, all over this country understand now is the time to act," Mr Sanders said.

Both Mr Manchin and Ms Sinema have been unwilling to play ball with their fellow Democrats on certain critical legislative items, most notably the reforming filibuster in order to advance legislation in a 50-50 split Senate.

-Democrats currently need 10 Republican Senators to support them in order to pass legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his goal was "100 per cent" to stop the Democrats from passing legislation. In order to accomplish anything while facing an obstructionist Republican party, many Democrats have supported eliminating the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

While several Democrats have suggested some hesitancy to remove the filibuster, Mr Manchin and Ms Sinema have outright opposed it.

The pair have not just obstructed controversial procedural rules in the Senate; back in March, Ms Sinema was one of the people who voted against a minimum wage hike in Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, curtsying as she did so.

At the time, Ms Sinema said she supported raising the minimum wage, but wanted it considered as its own bill. Trying to pass a minimum wage increase as its own bill would have allowed Republicans to block the passage without having to block the larger coronavirus relief bill.

Mr Sanders pointed to the wall of opposition facing Democratic lawmakers and concluded that the party needed to bolster its hold on the Senate.

"We need a hell of a lot more Democrats in the Senate than we have right now," Mr Sanders said.

Now is a bad time for Mr Sanders to take Mr Manchin and Ms Sinema to task; the Vermont senator – who heads the Senate Budget Committee – has proposed a $6 trillion infrastructure package he wants to pass through budget reconciliation, and in order to have any hope of the legislation surviving the Senate, he will need the support of at least Mr Manchin.

The senator from West Virginia indicated he is open to the idea, but said he wanted to hold off on giving a "yes" until he learned more about the bill.

Mr Sanders said the American people needed a plan that addressed their needs directly.

"All that I'm saying ... it's time to have a budget that speaks to the needs of American working families and the climate crisis that we face, that's what I'm trying to do," he said.

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