Bernie Sanders Says U.S. Has No Science-Based Reopening Policy: '50 States Going it Alone'

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said the $3 trillion coronavirus response package passed by House Democrats last week needs major improvements, and he cautioned that the Trump administration currently has no national, science-based plan for reopening the economy.

Sanders, in his first Sunday morning TV interview since dropping out of the Democratic presidential race, told ABC News' This Week that there are "50 states going it alone" as some regions attempt to re-open bars, restaurants and other businesses this month.

The former presidential candidate responded to a question about "Obamagate" and how "tough" presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democrats will be on China by saying the only "scandal" President Donald Trump should be concerned with is his administration not having any national, science-based plan for reopening the economy.

"The scandal of the moment is that we don't have national policy. We should have national policy based on science. We should have testing going on all over this country so that when we reopen the economy, workers understand that they're working in a safe environment."

"Instead, you have got 50 states going it alone because we don't have that national protocol based on science," he added.

“You’ve got a president who blames everybody in the world for the problems that we face except himself,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tells @GStephanopoulos as the Trump administration blames China for economic challenges in the United States related to COVID-19.

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 17, 2020

He urged Congress to act immediately to offer financial support directly to working-class Americans, and he proposed adding a "paycheck security process" to the $3 trillion package passed by the House last week. Such a system, he said, would circumvent corporate interests and ensure the livelihoods of workers on the ground level. Sanders did not confirm he would vote in favor of the $3 trillion House omnibus bill spearheaded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats last week. Instead, the Vermont senator said he has "some disagreements" with the legislation and he hopes the Senate will improve the bill.

"Instead of funding the COBRA program, what we should do is make sure that all people in this country, including the 87 million who were uninsured or under-insured before the pandemic, have access to health care," Sanders added. "And you do that by allowing Medicare to fill in the gaps for the uninsured and the under-insured."

He responded to White House adviser Peter Navarro appearing before him on the television program and claiming Republicans are looking out for the interests of the middle class. Sanders said many of the country's economic hardships were problems before COVID-19, and at least Pelosi's bill acknowledges the "terrible suffering" felt by millions of Americans.

"It really amazes me," Sanders said. "Well, you know what, Mr. Navarro? In the last two months, 35 million people have lost their jobs. There are millions of people today who are hungry in America. They don't have food in their cupboards. There are people today who cannot afford to go to a doctor even when they have coronavirus symptoms."

"If you're concerned about the working class of this country, understand the extraordinary suffering, unprecedented, that is now taking place. Demand that Congress act," Sanders said, acknowledging that several top Senate Republicans have called for a halt in federal government spending.

Newsweek reached out to both Sanders' office and the White House for additional comment Sunday afternoon.

bernie sanders abc reopening plan
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said the only "scandal" President Donald Trump should focus on is his administration not having a national, science-based plan for reopening the economy as the country looks to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. Screenshot: ABC News 'This Week'