October 7, 2013

As the government shutdown headed into a second week with no resolution in sight, Senator Bernie Sanders on Monday made three key points.

First, Democrats already made significant concessions in the budget talks by agreeing to lower spending levels. The Senate went along with a House budget that would continue across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. That was a “major concession,” Sanders said, but House Republicans keep adding new demands.

Second, the senator doubted House Speaker John Boehner’s claim that the Senate-passed spending resolution wouldn’t pass the House. In fact, some 20 House Republicans have signaled that they would support a so-called clean resolution and vote with House Democrats to reopen the government “Bring it to a vote, let's find out what's happening,” Sanders told Thomas Roberts on MSNBC.

Third, the shutdown strategy was planned and paid for by the Koch brothers and other wealthy individuals who want to defund the Affordable Care Act, cut Social Security benefits, end Medicare as we know it, abolish the minimum wage and cut other programs that help working families. Their attitude, Sanders said, is “to use every ounce of leverage, even if it means catastrophic pain for America and the world, so long as we get our way.” He cited a Sunday New York Times expose that detailed how the Koch brothers and others plotted the shutdown “from the day after Obama was re-elected.”

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