Bernie Sanders Calls Out Pro-War Deficit Hawks in Budget Debate

Vermont’s independent U.S. senator has been appointed to a bi-partisan budget panel tasked with…

Bernie Sanders Calls Out Pro-War Deficit Hawks in Budget Debate Bernie Sanders Calls Out Pro-War Deficit Hawks in Budget Debate

Uncategorized October 20, 2013 0

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke at Penn Center near Beaufort, S.C. on oct. 19 / Corey hutchins Bernie Sanders Calls Out Pro-War Deficit... Bernie Sanders Calls Out Pro-War Deficit Hawks in Budget Debate
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke at Penn Center near Beaufort, S.C. on oct. 19 / Corey hutchins

Bernie Sanders Calls Out Pro-War Deficit Hawks in Budget Debate

Vermont’s independent U.S. senator has been appointed to a bi-partisan budget panel tasked with averting another government shut down. He offered some first shots at ‘deficit hypocrites’ in South Carolina.

United States Sen. Bernie Sanders, the longest serving independent in Congress and a self-styled democratic socialist, will join Republican Paul Ryan on a budget conference committee with the goal of averting another government shutdown.

Yesterday I got a chance to hear Sanders speak about it at an island backwoods retreat on a salt marsh near Beaufort, South Carolina.

Speaking there to a group of about 120 progressive activists, Sanders offered some first shots for how he might tackle the budget debate as an appointee to the bi-partisan conference committee. One of them could be to call out deficit hawk warmongers as hypocrites.

This is what he told the S.C. crowd on Oct. 19:

Right now we have a $700-billion deficit. How did we get to that deficit? Who knows. Before two wars, the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq —no one knows exactly how much those wars will end up costing before we take care of the last veteran who fought in those wars — but the estimate is somewhere between $3 and $6 trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money. Now, where were all of the deficit hawks when we went to war?

So the hypocrisy is extraordinary. When it comes to Medicaid we just can’t afford to provide health insurance to our children — can’t afford it — when it comes to going to war that we never should have gotten into, no problem going into that war. Second of all, and this is important for the American people to understand, these deficit hypocrites are exactly the same people during the Bush Administration who gave huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

Sanders was speaking at a small hall at Penn Center on St. Helena Island, one of the earliest schools for freed slaves, and a favorite bucolic getaway for Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights movement. King had reportedly written some early words of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech among the scattered cabins and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. I’d passed at least two dead alligators on the road from Charleston to get there Saturday.

The appointment of Sanders to the Budget Conference Committee brings an anti-war, progressive voice to the table as lawmakers debate a new long-term budget deal. The committee, which is being headed by Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, was set up as part of the deal to re-open the government last week. The group is made up of 29 lawmakers, including the entire Senate Budget Committee, of which Sanders is a member.

“I just wanted to make a point about some of the hypocrisy that we’re seeing from our right-wing friends,” he said. Sanders also had some harsh words for Democrats, who he said are beholden to corporate interests when they should be fighting for the interests of working families.

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