While I know that disliking Bernie Sanders is somewhat of a consensus hobby horse around these parts, and while I know people are perfectly in their rights to debate whether he should or should not drop out of the presidential race, a reminder that he’s nevertheless one of the most (the most?) principled politicians that we have at the national level, and that that is often times a good thing.
Yesterday was a case in point:
Chances for a planned Senate vote Wednesday on a historic $2 trillion relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic appeared to dwindle as senators threatened to delay it over a key unemployment insurance proposal.
Earlier in the day, four Republican senators — Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rick Scott of Florida — threatened to oppose the chamber’s push to pass the rescue package through fast-track procedures. They argued a proposal to add $600 per week to unemployment insurance for up to four months, a core provision of the near-final legislation, could encourage companies to lay off workers and Americans to stay unemployed, urging a vote to cap the aid. (Sasse introduced an amendment Wednesday night saying the benefits should not exceed previous pay).
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., then said he would delay the bill if his GOP colleagues did not drop their opposition, calling it an “outrage” to prevent Americans from getting emergency unemployment insurance. In a statement, he said he is “prepared to put a hold on this bill” to lobby for tighter restrictions on companies receiving aid from a taxpayer pool of $500 billion.
Was the Sasse/Graham/Scott anti-worker amendment likely to pass without Sanders’s vocal opposition? Probably not. That doesn’t make his vocalization of just how absurd and monstrous the Republican stance is unimportant.
A reminder that the topic here is not whether Bernie Sanders is a bad presidential candidate or, contrarily, a truly horrible presidential candidate.