Sanders slams Manchin for trading paid time off for oil grants in reconciliation

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) spoke in the Senate on Tuesday to point out the glaring problems and inadequacies of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which Democratic leaders recently announced after months of negotiations with coal millionaire Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).

Warning of impending fascism and runaway capitalism in the United States, Sanders harshly criticized Manchin and Democrats for excluding crucial provisions from the bill that were part of last year’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA) while inserting massive aid to the fossil fuel industry in the face of worsening the climate crisis.

The roughly $433 billion bill, which was crafted from the BBBA framework, is much smaller than its predecessor – which, even at its lowest traded value, was at around $1.75 trillion. When Manchin killed Bill last year, Sanders heavily criticized the move at the time, and also said on Tuesday that the BBBA’s presumed death is “a disaster for the working families of our country who today are desperately trying to survive.”

While emphasizing that polls have revealed that the BBBA and its various proposals were popular, Sanders noted that many of its provisions were left out of this year’s reconciliation bill. Arrangements like paid family and medical leave, expanded child tax credit and universal preschool would have helped throw families a lifeline in the COVID economy, Sanders said. He added that the BBBA would also have addressed national issues such as the soaring tuition and prescription drug priceslean Health Insurance blanket and the housing crisis.

However, Manchin and other lawmakers have reduced or eliminated these provisions altogether. Although the new bill affects the price of prescription drugs, it will only allow Medicare to negotiate the price of some prescription drugs – not all drugs, because early versions of the BBBA would have done. And, while that would cap insulin prices at $35 a month for people with health insurance, it would do nothing for those without, Sanders pointed out.

Although he praised the IRA provisions that would extend and expand the Affordable Care Act, the Vermont senator said the proposed health care provisions do not go as far as needed to solve major health care shortages in the United States.

“This bill does nothing – absolutely nothing – to reform a dysfunctional and broken health care system that relies on the greed of the insurance industry, does nothing to solve the fundamental crisis of the United States which pays, by far, the highest prices in the world. world for health care, while more than 70 million of us are uninsured or underinsured,” he said. “It doesn’t even touch that.

Sanders also said that while the bill contains laudable clean energy provisions, it falls far short of what the BBBA had proposed to tackle the climate crisis. Worse, the invoice contains big concessions to the fossil fuel industry that climate advocates say would almost completely undermine provisions to cut emissions.

“The very bad news that very few people in the media or in Congress want to talk about is that this bill includes a huge giveaway to the fossil fuel industry – both in the reconciliation bill itself and in a side deal it just became public yesterday,” Sanders pointed out.

The proposed bill is so favorable to the fossil fuel industry that executives of companies like Exxon said that they are satisfied with the invoice. Another huge concession contained in the bill is a mandate for the Home Office to continue selling oil and gas leases every year for the next decade whenever the authorities want to approve new wind or solar projects.

“Under this legislation, the fossil fuel industry will receive billions of dollars in new tax relief and subsidies over the next ten years, in addition to the $15 billion in tax and corporate welfare relief that ‘they’re already receiving,” Sanders said. “In my opinion, if we want to make our planet healthy and habitable for future generations, we cannot offer billions of dollars in tax breaks to the same fossil fuel companies that are destroying the planet.”

The senator concluded by saying that after months of secret negotiations between Democratic leaders and Manchin, “Now is the time for every member of the Senate to carefully study this bill and offer amendments and suggestions on how which we can improve on,” he said. “I look forward to being part of this process.”

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