For all of the people who constantly say that Bernie Sanders has never done anything throughout his political career, you can personally thank him for the recently passed stimulus package for coronavirus relief. Sanders took to the Senate floor on Wednesday in order to challenge fellow Republicans over their efforts to give as little aid possible to working-class and poor Americans. Republicans were threatening to delay passage on the stimulus bill due to a seemingly overly generous expansion of unemployment benefits
“Now I find that some of my Republican colleagues are very distressed,” began Sanders. They’re very upset that somebody who’s making 10, 12 bucks an hour might end up with a paycheck for four months, more than they received last week.”
While the Republicans were threatening to delay the bill, Sanders said that he would hold up the stimulus legislation and demand stronger provisions over the bill’s “corporate welfare fund” if Republican senators didn’t drop their objections to the unemployment conditions.
“Oh my god, the universe is collapsing. Imagine that?” Sanders continued. “Somebody who’s making 12 bucks an hour now, like the rest of us, faces an unprecedented economic crisis with the $600 bucks on top of their normal, their regular unemployment check, might be making a few bucks more for four months. Oh my word! Will the universe survive?”
Before the Senate passed the stimulus on Wednesday night with unanimous vote, the Senate defeated an amendment by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that would have limited unemployment benefits.
“How absurd and wrong is that? What kind of value system is that?” asked Sanders. “Meanwhile, these very same folks had no problem a couple years ago voting for a trillion dollars in tax breaks for billionaires and large profitable corporations. Not a problem.”
“But when it comes to low-income workers, in the midst of a terrible crisis, maybe some of them earning or having more money than they previously made—oh my word, we gotta strip that out,” Sanders continued. “You see because poor people are down here, they don’t deserve, they don’t eat, they don’t pay rent, they don’t go to the doctor, they’re somehow inferior because they’re poor, gonna give them less. Some of my Republican friends still have not given up on the need to punish the poor and working people.”
Watch Sanders’ impassioned Senate floor speech below.