Independent US Senator Bernie Sanders has said Republicans are “bought and paid for” by large corporations that are spending loads of money to prevent lawmakers from doing what the American people want.
In an interview with ABC News on Sunday, the Vermont senator said, “We're taking on the entire ruling class of this country."
"Right now the drug companies, the health care — the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry are spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent us from doing what the American people want, and this really is a test of whether or not American democracy can work," he added.
Republicans in Congress are opposed to the reconciliation bill, which has been twinned with an infrastructure package in the legislative process.
Even many of those Republicans who previously supported the infrastructure bill are now opposing the reconciliation bill, which is currently set at $3.5 trillion. Some of the more conservative Democrat lawmakers want a smaller bill.
Sanders said Republicans are “bought and paid for” by large corporations and their lobbyists.
He also slammed lobbyists who are battling the progressive priorities built into the $3.5 trillion bill.
“Poll after poll shows what we are doing is exactly what the American people want. It's not what the big money interest wants, not what the lobbyists want. It's what the American people want, and we got to do it,” Sanders said.
The Vermont senator stated that “some give and take” on the legislation was likely
“I want it to be paid for, and, in fact, that is exactly what we are going to do, and if it's $3.5 trillion, we can pay for it because as everybody knows, you got some of the wealthiest people in this country who in a given year don't pay a penny in federal income tax. Large corporations don't pay a nickel in federal income tax. So, if Manchin wants to pay for it, I'm there,” he said.
‘Both parties are owned by big business interests’
Commenting to Press TV, American journalist Don Debar stated that Sanders should have said both parties, not Republicans, are “bought and paid for” by large corporations.
“Sanders blames the country's problems on Republicans even though they're the same problems that we've had - and that even got worse - under Biden, Obama and Clinton, no matter if the House or Senate or both were controlled by Republicans or Democrats and he himself has been in the Congress for many, many, many years. He had his chance to prove himself as an outsider despite that, in 2016 - and he failed miserably by conceding a bunch of stolen primaries to Hillary Clinton. He repeated that performance in 2020,” DeBar said.
“Both parties are wholly owned by big business interests, including the financial houses on Wall Street, Big Pharma, big agribusiness and of course military contractors. To try to pretend the problem is just Republicans borders on delusion,” he said.
Sanders has previously said the American society is “oligarchic” where most of the wealth is accumulated by a handful of affluent elites.
He said in July the “top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%”, while acknowledging the reality of “living in an oligarchic society”.
“Over the last 30 years, the top 1%'s wealth has increased by $21 trillion while the bottom half's declined,” he wrote. “Is that the kind of country we are satisfied with?”
The discourse over the US as an “oligarchy” has gained momentum in recent years with multiple studies revealing that a small group of politically connected elites hold most of the wealth and exercise complete control over policymaking in the US.