The Vermont senator appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
In order for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and larger social spending package to pass, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday the $3.5 trillion budget resolution price tag will likely be lowered.
“The $3.5 trillion should be a minimum, but I accept that there’s gonna have to be give and take,” Sanders told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
House progressives have warned leadership they will not vote on President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill until the larger human infrastructure bill is also ready for a vote.
The budget resolution calls for investments in climate change policy, child care and other social programs, and is wider in scope than the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes measures to improve the nation’s physical infrastructure. But moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have said they will not support the bill’s $3.5 trillion price tag.
Due to the slim Democratic majority in the Senate, neither bill will pass unless they have all the votes of the Democrats. Biden spent last week negotiating with members and visited Capitol Hill on Friday to meet with House Democrats.
Sinema released a statement Saturday accusing progressives of “an ineffective stunt” and slammed House Democratic leadership for failing to pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
“Denying Americans millions of good-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity and better broadband only hurts everyday families,” Sinema wrote.
Asked by Karl to respond to her statement, Sanders said he thinks Sinema is wrong and “both of these bills are going forward in tandem,” adding that he voted for the infrastructure bill.
“This really is a test on whether democracy can work,” Sanders said. “I hope very much and I expect that the Democratic caucus and the president — I know he will — stand firm.”
Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has called the $3.5 trillion price tag too high. Pressed on whether the Democratic infighting will not only hurt Democrats in the midterms, but also hurt McAuliffe in his race November, Sanders said he “wishes Terry McAuliffe the best of luck” and emphasized the popularity of the reconciliation bill.
“What we are fighting for is precisely what the American people want,” Sanders said.
This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.