Talk about waking up to good news on a beautiful and rainy fall day, this is it. Bernie Sanders is on the Budget Conference Committee. The only thing that could make it better would be Elizabeth Warren by his side.
From Bernie's website:
Sen. Bernie Sanders was appointed to a Senate and House budget conference committee to create a long-term budget plan by Dec. 13 to avert another government shutdown. A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders said he looks forward to developing an alternative to the stopgap, sequestration-level budget that Congress approved late Wednesday as part of an agreement to reopen the government. “I am excited about being a member of the budget conference committee and I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to end the absurdity of sequestration and to develop a budget which works for all Americans. In my view, it is imperative that this new budget helps us create the millions of jobs we desperately need and does not balance the budget on the backs of working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor,” Sanders said.
The 29 member bipartisan, bicameral group includes the entire Senate Budget Committee, as well as four House Republicans and three House Democrats. Nine of the Republicans voted against the compromise. A complete list of the members is here.
As we all know, the sides are worlds apart.
^The Senate budget protects Medicare while the House version would end Medicare and replace it with coupons for private health insurance.
^The House budget repeals the Affordable Care Act [again]; the Senate resolution does not.
^The House version eliminated grants for up to 1 million college students while the Senate plan protects Pell grants.
^The House version would kick up to 24 million Americans off of Medicaid while the Senate budget would protect their benefits.
^The Senate budget calls for new revenue while the House version would provide trillions of dollars in tax breaks mainly for the wealthiest Americans and profitable corporations offset by increased taxes on the middle class.
What we don't see in the budget from either side is BIG cuts to defense, adding a Wall Street transaction tax, lifting the cap on Social Security, eliminating the useless and bloated Department of Homeland Security that is destroying community policing, ending the war on drugs, ending the profit laden privatization of the common good, and legalizing and taxing pot. We can only hope voices from outside the bubble reach the Democrats in the bubble. The GOP firmly has its head up its ass making it difficult for them to hear anything but the voices inside their own heads.