Bernie Sanders Calls the Republicans Gutless For Hiding Behind ‘Filibusters’

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In the polite language of the Senate, Bernie Sanders called Senate Republicans gutless for ‘filibustering’ via the 60 vote rule instead of voting and owning their unpopular positions.

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Sen. Sanders called out Republicans who abuse Senate rules instead of using the talking filibuster, “In my view, if a senator or a group of senators are strenuously opposed to legislation they have the right and duty to come to the floor and, for as long as they want, engage in a talking filibuster by explaining to the American people the reasons for their objection. They should not, however, continue to have the right to abuse arcane Senate rules to block a majority of senators from acting on behalf of the American people.”

Later Sanders questioned the guts of Republicans who filibuster via the 60 vote rule, “If my Republicans are so confident in the points of view that they are advocating, bring them to the floor, let’s have an up or down vote. Let the American people know how I feel on the issue, how you feel on the issue, but let us not have issues decided because we couldn’t get 60 votes for a ‘motion to proceed.’ Nobody in America understands what that’s about. If you want to vote against the minimum wage, have the guts to come up here and vote against the minimum wage. You want to vote against women’s rights? Come on up here, make your say, vote against women’s rights. You want to vote against global warming? Vote against global warming. But let us at least have the debate that the American people are demanding.”

It would have been a violation of Senate decorum for Sen. Sanders to say that Republicans are gutless, so he went about it in a more round about way. He suggested that the Republicans need to have the guts to vote on their unpopular positions so that everybody knows where they stand. This was a suggestion that the Republican tactic of hiding behind the 60 vote rule shows a lack of guts and courage. In other words, Republicans refuse put their name on their positions by voting on the legislation.

Bernie Sanders know something about courageous filibusters. In December of 2010, he spent eight and a half hours talking to filibuster an extension of the Bush tax cuts. There is something ignoble about the way Senate Republicans are obstructing progress. Republicans are going out of the way to hide their unpopular positions. When they take an unpopular vote to block progress, you won’t find it mentioned on their individual websites. Senate Republicans do their best to obstruct on a daily basis without actually putting their individual names on anything.

Republicans should be held accountable for their obstruction, and all Bernie Sanders is asking them to do is to publicly own their positions. The refusal to own their unpopular positions is exactly why they are gutless cowards who have chosen to abuse Senate rules instead of being honest with the American people.

Bernie Sanders knows courage, and what the Republicans are doing is anything but courageous.

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