Sanders' Lashing Out at Manchin, Sinema Over Voting on Biden Agenda Met With Criticism

Senator Bernie Sanders on Friday called out Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for holding up a vote on President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending package.

The two moderate senators have said they cannot support the plan with its current price tag, which means Democrats are two votes shy of the 50 needed to pass the bill.

"2 senators cannot be allowed to defeat what 48 senators and 210 House members want," Sanders tweeted. "We must stand with the working families of our country. We must combat climate change. We must delay passing the Infrastructure Bill until we pass a strong Reconciliation Bill."

Sanders is the only Senate member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has played a key role in rallying its House members to vote no on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill if a vote is not held in the Senate on the larger spending package.

Much of the Democratic Party has rallied around the budget bill, a signature piece of Biden's domestic agenda. For years, Sanders has advocated for many of the social services included in the package.

But on Friday, users on Twitter were quick to criticize Sanders' assertion that Senate passage of the bill should not be held up by just a couple of Democrats.

"52 Senators are keeping your big government tyranny at bay," documentarian Errol Webber tweeted. "The very fact that you purport that only 2 Senators are blocking the bill says that this outrageous spending bill is completely partisan, because you won't even acknowledge all the Republicans also voting against it."

52 Senators are keeping your big government tyranny at bay.

The very fact that you purport that only 2 Senators are blocking the bill says that this outrageous spending bill is completely partisan, because you won’t even acknowledge all the Republicans also voting against it. https://t.co/lQJJjck2zn

— Errol Webber (@ErrolWebber) October 1, 2021
Courtesy of @ErrolWebber

Columnist Phil Kerpen tweeted, "52 senators can, in fact, defeat 48."

52 senators can, in fact, defeat 48 https://t.co/MSD1syUhvF

— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 1, 2021
Courtesy of @kerpen

Another user questioned Sanders' view of the voting process but agreed that Manchin and Sinema are blocking the will of the Democratic Party. "Not confident in that analysis," columnist Michael J. Stern tweeted. "But, I'm on board with the conclusion that @Sen_JoeManchin and @SenatorSinema are corporate-bought Republicans in disguise and dragging down the Democratic party."

Not confident in that analysis.

But, I'm on board with the conclusion that @Sen_JoeManchin and @SenatorSinema are corporate-bought Republicans in disguise and dragging down the Democratic party. https://t.co/3QWatET46i

— Michael J. Stern (@MichaelJStern1) October 1, 2021
Courtesy of @MichaelJStern1

Manchin has indicated he would support the spending bill if it were scaled back to $1.5 trillion, but members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus consider that number unacceptable. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said concerns over the bill's price tag are inflated, given that its spending stretches over 10 years and amounts to $350 billion per year.

"Most of the senators...just a few weeks ago authorized a seven hundred and thirty-odd billion defense budget authorization for one year," the New York Democrat told reporters. "So why is something half that size needed to be chopped down another half? So if this is really the deficit, then maybe we go after our defense spending and find our savings there instead of going after people's child care."

US-POLITICS-ECONOMY
Senator Bernie Sanders on Friday criticized Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for holding up a vote on President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending package. Above, Sanders speaks to reporters as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images