Sanders Vows to Vote Against $858B Defense Bill, Calls for Medicare for All

“We’ve bought to start out defending the wants of working households,” Sanders emphasised.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has vowed to vote towards the 2023 nationwide protection price range, saying that it’s unconscionable to spend that quantity on protection when thousands and thousands throughout the U.S. are struggling to outlive.

In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, Sanders mentioned that he’s planning to proceed his custom of voting towards the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act (NDAA) when it quickly involves a vote within the Senate.

“Look, we have now 85 million People who don’t have any medical health insurance. We’ve 600,000 people who find themselves homeless. We’ve a dysfunctional well being care system, dysfunctional baby care system the place working dad and mom are paying $15,000 a 12 months on common for baby care,” Sanders mentioned. “We’ve bought to start out defending the wants of working households.”

He went on to criticize the Pentagon’s continuous failure to account for the huge quantity of funding that it will get every year.

“The Pentagon is the one main company of presidency which has by no means been independently audited. There may be huge waste and fraud and price overruns inside that company,” he mentioned. “I believe that we are able to have the robust protection that we want with out spending the massive amount of cash that we’re at present spending on the navy.”

Lawmakers from each main events deem the NDAA a “must-pass” invoice every year. It has reached towering new heights on this 12 months’s proposal that can probably move the Senate in upcoming weeks, coming to a complete of $858 billion — smashing data set in earlier years and exceeding President Joe Biden’s already sky-high protection request by over $50 billion.

Progressives, together with Sanders, have condemned the Pentagon price range 12 months after 12 months, stating that over half of the tons of of billions of {dollars} allotted for protection go towards huge non-public contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing — and, in flip, assist pad these corporations’ large earnings.

The Home handed the NDAA final week by a 350 to 80 vote, with left-leaning lawmakers like Squad members Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Cori Bush (D-Missouri), Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), and others voting towards it. Some Republicans voted against the bill — Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-California) had baseless complaints about “woke” provisions within the invoice — regardless of scoring a significant win for his or her get together in getting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members ended.

Sanders mentioned that, somewhat than funding protection, his priorities are quickly going to be decreasing the value of pharmaceuticals and advocating for Medicare for All. Within the new Congress, the senator is slated to grow to be the chair of the influential Well being, Schooling, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the place he has vowed to concentrate on common well being care, advancing staff’ rights and entry to larger schooling.

“In that job, I intend to do the whole lot I can to decrease the outrageously excessive prices of pharmaceuticals on this nation,” he mentioned. “We’re going to tackle the pharmaceutical trade, we’re going to tackle the insurance coverage trade, and attempt to finish the scenario the place we’re the one main nation on earth that doesn’t assure well being care to all individuals.”

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