Bernie Sanders has big plans for coronavirus relief

Washington DC – Bernie Sanders has been making waves across the internet with his distinctive Inaugural style, but the Vermont senator might soon be shaking things up in Washington for an entirely different reason.

Bernie Sanders (79) has a wide and very diverse base of support among progressive voters of all ages.
Bernie Sanders (79) has a wide and very diverse base of support among progressive voters of all ages.  © imago images / ZUMA Wire

Under the Biden administration, two-time presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (79) will maintain his position as a Vermont senator, as well as become the new chair of the Senate Budget Committee. He will play an important role in determining congressional tax and spending plans.

Sanders is a beloved figure among progressive voters. Despite failing to attain the Democratic Party's nomination for president, his impact on the American political system can hardly be underestimated.

He has succeeded in dramatically widening the scope of political discussion in the country, and his campaign received an unprecedented amount of small-dollar donations. Once considered pipe dreams, some of his signature policies, like Medicare for All, have become nationwide rallying calls.

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Now, Sanders plans to wield his influence atop the Senate Budget Committee to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

The senator proposes to pass a $1.9-trillion relief bill, which faces opposition from many Senate Republicans. It is unlikely the bill will receive the normally required 60 votes in the US Senate.

Sanders plans to use a tool called reconciliation

Senator Sanders defends the use of reconciliation to alleviate economic suffering exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Senator Sanders defends the use of reconciliation to alleviate economic suffering exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.  © Imago Images / MediaPunch

There is no time to lose in addressing the pandemic, the senator said in a Sunday appearance on CNN: "what we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks, and months and months, to go forward. We have got to act now."

Sanders plans to use a tool called reconciliation to pass the relief bill, Politico reported. The expedited process is a means of avoiding a filibuster in the Senate, as only a simple 51 majority vote is required to push the spending bill forward.

In the past, Sanders has criticized Republicans for utilizing reconciliation to pass a 2017 bill offering tax cuts to the wealthy and in a failed attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act.

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In the interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Sanders defended his use of reconciliation: "Yes, I did criticize [Republicans] for that. And if they want to criticize me for helping to feed children who are hungry or senior citizens in this country who are isolated and alone and don't have enough food, they can criticize me."

The senator continued, "we're gonna do it, but we're gonna do it to protect ordinary people, not just the rich and the powerful."

Cover photo: imago images / ZUMA Wire

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