WASHINGTON, August 9, 2021 — Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Monday issued the following statement after he joined with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to introduce the FY 2022 budget resolution, which includes reconciliation instructions for Congress to craft sweeping legislation to invest in the long-neglected needs of the working class:
“The $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution that I am introducing today will allow the Senate to move forward on a reconciliation bill that will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s.
“It will also put the U.S. in a global leadership position to combat climate change and make our planet healthy and habitable for future generations.
“Further, and importantly, this legislation will create millions of good paying jobs as we address the long-neglected needs of working families and saving the planet.
“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality this is a budget that will end the days of billionaires and large, profitable corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. Yes. We will finally ask the very wealthy and largest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
“Under this budget, however, no family making under $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in taxes and will, in fact, receive one of the largest tax cuts in American history.
“We will substantially reduce our childhood poverty rate by expanding the Child Tax Credit so that families continue to receive monthly direct payments of up to $300 per child.
“We will address the crisis in childcare by making sure that no working family pays more than 7 percent of their income on this basic need. Making child care more accessible and affordable will also strengthen our economy by allowing more Americans to join the work force.
“We will provide universal pre-kindergarten to every 3-and-4-year-old.
“We will end the international disgrace of the United States being the only major country on earth not to guarantee paid family and medical leave as a right.
“We will begin to address the crisis in higher education by making community colleges in America tuition-free.
“We will save taxpayers hundreds of billions by requiring that Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and we will use those savings to expand Medicare by covering the dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses that seniors desperately need.
“We will combat homelessness in America and address the reality that nearly 18 million households are paying over 50 percent of their income for housing by an unprecedented investment in affordable housing.
“We will ensure that people in an aging society can receive the health care they need in their own homes instead of expensive and inadequate nursing homes and that the workers who provide that care aren’t forced to live on starvation wages.
“We will take on the existential threat of climate change by transforming our energy systems toward renewable energy and energy efficiency. Through a Civilian Climate Corps we will give hundreds of thousands of young people good paying jobs and educational benefits as they help us combat climate change.
“We will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
“We will fight to make it easier, not harder, for workers to join unions in America.
“And, yes, we will pass this budget with 51 votes, not 60, by passing it under the rules of reconciliation.
“Let’s be clear: This is not a new idea. When Republicans controlled the Senate they used reconciliation to pass trillions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 1% and large corporations.
“When Republicans controlled the Senate they used reconciliation to make climate change worse by opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
“When Republicans controlled the Senate they tried to use reconciliation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and throw 32 million Americans off of the health care they had.
“Today, with Democrats in control of the Senate, we will use reconciliation to benefit the working class, not the billionaire class.
“For too many decades, Congress has ignored the needs of the working class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. Now is the time for bold action. Now is the time to restore faith in ordinary Americans that their government can work for them, and not just wealthy campaign contributors. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this Budget Resolution and a reconciliation bill that works for working families, not the top one percent.”