Majority Leader Harry Reid has shattered Paul Ryan’s dreams of killing Social Security and Medicare by putting Sen. Bernie Sanders on the budget conference committee.
Sen. Sanders reacted to the official news of being appointed to the budget conference committee by saying, “I am excited about being a member of the budget conference committee and I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to end the absurdity of sequestration and to develop a budget which works for all Americans. In my view, it is imperative that this new budget helps us create the millions of jobs we desperately need and does not balance the budget on the backs of working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.”
In other words, Bernie Sanders opposes everything that Paul Ryan wants. Sen. Sanders has long been an outspoken critic of the Ryan budgets, and the Wisconsin Republican’s borderline obsession with privatizing Social Security and voucherizing Medicare.
In response to Ryan’s recent Wall Street Journal editorial where he once again put entitlements in the crosshairs, Sanders said, “In a sense, what Paul Ryan is saying is yeah, I lost the election. It doesn’t matter. I want you to implement all of the ideas that I campaigned on and lost. You know what? The American don’t want to see cuts in Social Security, or privatization of Social Security, They don’t want to see cuts in Medicare. They don’t want to see cuts in Medicaid. They don’t want to see the EPA abolished, the Department of Education abolished. They don’t want to see the VA privatized. They don’t want to see the minimum wage, the concept of the minimum wage, done away with so that the people of America could work for four bucks an hour.”
In 2012, Sen. Sanders called out Rep. Ryan for continuing Republican class warfare with his budget, “I think clearly what Ryan is about is continuing the Republican effort to engage in class warfare. Who in their right minds could support a proposal which says more tax breaks for the wealthiest people and yet we’ll cut Medicare and Medicaid in drastic form.”
Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders have been working together for years to protect Social Security. Reid has stated everytime that he has been asked over the past few years that no cuts to Social Security will pass the Senate. It is likely that Reid put Sanders on the budget conference committee to act as the anti-Ryan.
Paul Ryan has claimed that he wanted a budget conference committee, and now he’s got it. What he has also got that he might not have expected was Bernie Sanders sitting across the table from him fighting against his efforts to destroy Social Security and Medicare.
The appointment of Sen. Sanders sets the stage for some very interesting budget negotiations over the next two months that Paul Ryan definitely may not like.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association