Bernie Sanders, Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
Personally, inauguration day was fairly bittersweet. As glad as I am to have Donald Trump out of office, to say I’m skeptical of how much the Democratic party will fight for and achieve under the leadership of Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Joe Manchin, and Nancy Pelosi would be an understatement. That said, there’s no denying one of the most significant silver linings throughout the weeks following the election has been that if Democrats take the Senate, none other Bernie Sanders would assume the incredibly important position of Senate Budget Committee Chair. Naturally, he wasted no time in trying to instill a sense of optimism among his base and the broader public.
In a recent CNN Opinion piece, Bernie laid out his plans to use budget reconciliation that would allow them to pass “comprehensive legislation” with only 51 votes, called for $2000 checks, expansion of unemployment benefits, aide to state and local governments to prevent layoffs, hazard pay for frontline workers, 12 weeks of paid family leave, tuition free college, student debt cancellation, and a $15 dollars minimum wage.
After weeks of Democrats like Joe Manchin continuously popping up in the news, with an undeniable desire to flex his muscle as one of the most powerful people in Washington at the expense of the American people, it’s nice to have the reminder that Bernie plans on using his newfound power as well. As refreshing as it is to see Bernie letting everyone know in no uncertain terms that he has every intention of continuing to fight on our behalf during the worst public health and economic crisis’ in modern American history, it also begs the question why it is that so few in positions of power have that same type of energy.
In a sane, rational world, everything that Bernie Sanders called for in his opinion piece would be the bare minimum. In a sane, rational world everyone supposedly representing the left would be not only in his corner, but pushing for more, and there wouldn’t even be a question whether or not the American people get $2000 checks at a time when millions are experiencing economic hardship through no fault of their own. It’s sort of fitting to his style, isn’t it, that on the eve of assuming a position where he will have considerable say on how taxpayer money is spent, Bernie happens to remind us that everything he plans on spending the next two years fighting for is simply what is owed to us?
I am not at all under the impression that everything Bernie is hoping to accomplish will get done. I’m sure that on more than one occasion not only Republicans but a significant number of Democrats will not hesitate to stand in his way and do everything they possibly can to make it appear as though he’s being unreasonable for asking that the American people get what they need in order to survive. Having said that, I couldn’t help being encouraged by how hard and unapologetically he fought and continues to fight to get $2000 survival checks to the American people. I hope he continues to move forward with that type of energy, and inspires even more people to run for office as well in the years to come.