Republicans amplify Bernie Sanders’s criticisms of Democrats’ climate and health care legislation

Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters as he arrives for a vote on the Senate floor on 6 August  (Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters as he arrives for a vote on the Senate floor on 6 August (Getty Images)

Republicans on social media have praised Senator Bernie Sanders’s criticisms that Democrats’ proposed climate and spending legislation would have minimal impact on inflation.

The independent socialist from Vermont took to the Senate floor while it voted on a motion to proceed to pass their proposed legislation called the Inflation Reduction Act. Mr Sanders made his remarks just as vice president Kamala Harris arrived to break the tie to allow debate to begin.

Mr Sanders spent a few minutes as the vote was occurring on the Senate floor by himself before he pointed out that the Congressional Budget Office downplayed the effect on rising places of Democrats’ proposed legislation.

“I want to take a moment to say a few words about the so-called Inflation Reduction Act that we are debating this evening,” he said. “And I say so-called by the way, because according to the CBO and other economic organisations that have studied this bill, it will, in fact, have a minimal impact on inflation.”

Mr Sanders, who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, called for Democrats to change the legislation.

“But if all 50 members of the Democratic Caucus were to stand together today we could pass some very important amendments which would have a profound impact on improving the lives of working people in our country and could begin the process of restoring faith in our democracy,” he said on the floor.

In response, multiple Republicans echoed his statements.

David Popp, communications director for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, tweeted a GIF of Mr McConnell looking up and smiling.

Kate Cooksey Noyes, the communications director for the Senate Republican conference, said many Republicans have said the same thing.

“Well, yeah. That’s what we’ve been saying,” she tweeted. “Specifically on the lack of inflation impact referenced in this tweet.”

The Republican National Committee’s research Twitter account also tweeted a video from Mr Sanders’s speech.

Democrats hope to pass the legislation through a procedure called budget reconciliation, which allows them to pass it with only a simple majority and avoid a Republican filibuster.

But with only 50 seats in the Senate, they need every member of their conference on board, with Ms Harris serving as the tiebreaker. Mr Sanders had previously told reporters he was frustrated with the legislation before his speech.

“And I think there's nobody who can deny that this legislation does not address the major crises facing working families,” he said on Saturday. Specifically, he criticised the fact that Medicare will only be able to negotiate 10 prescription drugs. In turn, he proposed legislation that would allow it to negotiate drug prices for all medicines.

“Instead of taking four years to negotiate 10 drugs, what we should be doing is exactly what the Veterans Administration has been doing for 30 years,” he said.

Similarly, he also criticised the fact that the legislation allows for lease sales for additional drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

“I have obviously deep concerns about the wisdom of opening up millions of acres of water inland of fossil fuel drilling, which is exactly the opposite of what we've got to do,” he told reporters. “If we're going to be effective in combating climate change.”

Mr Sanders defended Republicans parroting his criticism of the legislation when he spoke to The Independent after leaving the Senate floor.

“What they retweeted was accurate, that's fine,” he said. “Look, the truth is the truth.”