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Good on Bernie

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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.

Watch Sanders’s powerful floor speech here.

A reminder that the topic here is not whether Bernie Sanders is a bad presidential candidate or, contrarily, a truly horrible presidential candidate.

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