Senator Bernie Sanders lambasted Senator Joe Manchin on Sunday after the West Virginia Democrat said he would not support legislation focused on climate change and tax changes, citing his concerns about high inflation.
Manchin is “intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what the majority of us in the Democratic caucus want. Nothing new about that,” Sanders, I-Vt., told the ABC’s “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz. . “And the problem was that we kept talking to Manchin like he was serious. He wasn’t.”
“When Manchin sabotages climate change, it’s future generations happening right now,” Sanders said. “In the West, all over the world, we are seeing a significant increase – more and more heat waves. More flooding should be considered. This is an existential threat to humanity.”
The rebuke comes after Manchin told his fellow Democrats he would not vote — at least not right away — for a party proposal aimed at tackling climate change that some lawmakers hoped to pass with their frail majority in Congress.
Instead, Manchin said, he would support a bill focused only on health care measures like prescription drug prices.
Since taking over Congress in 2020, Democrats have been trying to pass major legislation on a slate of social issues to deliver on President Joe Biden’s campaign promises and give themselves a boost ahead of November’s midterms. . But Manchin — and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema — repeatedly broke with the rest of the caucus over political objections, largely derailing those efforts in the Senate 50-50.
Writing in “This Week,” Sanders said the latest development echoes negotiations last year when Manchin also walked away from a broader social spending bill.
“The same nonsense that Manchin has been talking about for a year,” Sanders told Raddatz when asked about Manchin’s concerns about inflation, which hit an annual rate of 9.1% last month, a 40-year high. “In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the wealthiest people in this country, not working class families in West Virginia or America.”
In a statement last week, Manchin said he was thinking about everyday costs in opposing the climate and tax proposal.
“Items like chicken, eggs and luncheon meat have hit new highs, while energy costs rose more than 40% in June, with those who can least afford it suffering the most. It is high time that we put our country first and put an end to this inflation crisis,” he said.
During his appearance on Sunday, Sanders also lamented Biden’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia, saying the president should not have gone because of Riyadh’s human rights record, including the killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post columnist and US permanent resident.
US intelligence believed that Khashoggi’s killing had been approved by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which Saudi Arabia vehemently denies.
“Should Biden have left?” Raddatz asked.
“You have a leader of a country that was implicated in the murder of a Washington Post reporter. I don’t think that type of government should be rewarded with a visit from the President of the United States,” Sanders said. . (The White House says Biden immediately brought up Khashoggi’s murder when he met with bin Salman last week.)
Raddatz asked Sanders if Biden’s talks with bin Salman made sense in light of high gas prices, but Sanders argued that action around what he called corporate greed could make more sense. big difference at the pump.
“At the heart of the talks was oil, and President Biden said the Saudis would act in the coming weeks. Could that make a difference, and doesn’t that explain why he left? would you have done? Raddatz asked.
“One of the things we have to look at is the fact that while Americans are paying $4.50, $4.80 for a gallon of gas, oil company profits in the last quarter have been extraordinarily high. “, did he declare. “And I happen to think we need to tell the oil companies to stop ripping off the American people. And if they don’t, we should impose a windfall tax on them.”
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