Bernie Sanders

Senator from Vermont
Jump to  stances on the issues
Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race on April 8, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Sanders, an independent, is back after waging an unsuccessful challenge to Hillary Clinton in 2016 with a democratic socialist platform that included free college tuition. His positions on those issues have driven the policy debate within the Democratic Party ever since. He was elected to the Senate in 2006 and was previously in the House for 16 years.
University of Chicago, B.A. (1964)
September 8, 1941
Jane Sanders; divorced from Deborah Shiling
Levi (son with Susan Mott)
Heather, Carina and David
Congressman from Vermont, 1991-2007;
Mayor of Burlington, 1981-1989


Bernie Sanders just accused Joe Manchin of 'intentionally sabotaging' Joe Biden's agenda
Updated 11:01 AM ET, Mon Jul 18, 2022
In the wake of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin's play for more time to consider a climate and tax legislative package, his colleagues are letting loose with long-simmering frustrations with him and his tactics. None more so that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who absolutely let loose on Manchin during an interview with ABC News on Sunday (bolding is mine). "[Manchin] has sabotaged the president's agenda. No, look, if you check the record, six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin, [Arizona Sen. Kyrsten] Sinema to a lesser degree, who are intentionally sabotaging the President's agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want. Nothing new about this. And the problem was that we continue to talk to Manchin like he was serious. He was not. This is a guy who is [a] major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires. ... In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the very wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America." Which is a VERY big charge. Sanders is saying, in no uncertain terms, that Manchin not only was never really open to a deal, but that he intentionally strung out the negotiations as a way to "sabotage" (Sanders' word, not mine) the chances of getting this major part of President Joe Biden's agenda passed. That's not something that senators usually say about one another. And it's definitely not something a senator says about another senator ostensibly from his own party. (Sanders and Manchin are, obviously, very far away from one another on the ideological spectrum, but both caucus with Democrats in the Senate.) Compare Sanders' clear finger-pointing with the statement from Biden in the wake of the crumbling of talks between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. "Action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever," said Biden. "So let me be clear: if the Senate will not move to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment." No mention of Manchin anywhere in that statement -- and certainly no ad hominem attacks. That's because Biden knows -- whether he likes it or not -- that he (and the Democrats in the Senate) need Manchin more than he needs them. There is no path to passing much of anything without Manchin's sign-off, up to and including a measure to lower prescription drug prices that the White House is hoping to salvage from the wreckage of the climate and tax bill. It's not clear how much -- if at all -- Sanders' comments will affect the efforts to get Manchin on board with the prescription drug effort. But what is clear is that being attacked by the likes of Sanders is nothing but a good thing for Manchin's home state politics. Donald Trump won West Virginia by 39 points in the 2020 presidential election and both parties concede that there isn't another Democrat in the state who would have a chance to hold the Senate seat. Which means that Senate Democrats are stuck with Manchin -- unless and until they can pick up enough seats in other parts of the country to render his single vote less meaningful.


climate crisis
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Sanders has described climate change – now as well as during his 2016 run for president – as a global security threat. He is a leading proponent of the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. In August 2019, Sanders released a $16.3 trillion climate change program. His targets include meeting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s goal of 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030; cutting domestic emissions by 71% over that period; creating a $526 billion electric "smart grid”; investing $200 billion in the Green Climate Fund; and prioritizing what activists call a “just transition” for fossil fuel workers who would be dislocated during the transition. The Vermont independent would also cut off billions in subsidies to fossil fuel companies and impose bans on extractive practices, including fracking and mountaintop coal mining, while halting the import and export of coal, oil and natural gas. Sanders vows to recommit the US to the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. More on Sanders’ climate crisis policy
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Sanders introduced his 21st-century Economic Bill of Rights in June 2019, in which he pledged “once and for all that every American, regardless of his or her income, is entitled to the right to a decent job that pays a living wage; the right to quality health care; the right to a complete education; the right to affordable housing; the right to a clean environment; and the right to a secure retirement.” In October 2019, he introduced a plan that would guarantee workers eventually take control of 20% stakes in the country’s largest companies through the issuance of new stock and would mandate that employees elect 45% of corporate boards of directors. The Sanders plan would also impose strict new guidelines on mega-mergers, while asking a revamped Federal Trade Commission to review deals pushed through during the Trump administration. Throughout his career, Sanders has been pro-union, saying in January, “If we are serious about reducing income and wealth inequality and creating good-paying jobs, we have to substantially increase the number of union jobs in this country.” In 2017, he supported a 10-year infrastructure plan costing $1 trillion. At the time, proponents estimated the plan would create 15 million jobs. He had put forth a similar proposal during his first presidential campaign. More on Sanders’ economic policy
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Sanders would eliminate tuition and fees at, as his campaign says, “four-year public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs.” He unveiled legislation in June 2019 that would wipe out $1.6 trillion in undergraduate and graduate student loan debt for about 45 million people. The plan has no eligibility limitations and would be paid for with a new tax on Wall Street speculation. Sanders frequently describes education as a “human right.” That means “making public colleges, universities and historically black colleges and universities tuition-free and debt-free by tripling the work study program, expanding Pell grants and other financial incentives," he said. His “Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education” would seek to improve the K-12 system by taking aim at de facto segregation and public-school funding disparities while banning for-profit charter schools. More on Sanders’ education policy
gun violence
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Sanders describes “an epidemic of gun violence” in the US and has pushed for expanded background checks and the closing of assorted loopholes in firearm purchases. Sanders has consistently voted for legislation that would ban so-called assault weapons and said he would seek to do the same for high-capacity magazines. He said he would push for harsher punishments for “straw” purchases, when someone purchases a gun for someone who cannot legally possess a firearm. More on Sanders’ gun violence policy
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Sanders introduced “Medicare for All” legislation in 2017, which would have created a national government-run program providing comprehensive coverage with no premiums, deductibles or copays. He has taken this version of the plan one step further since its initial rollout to include long-term care at home and in the community for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Unlike some of his presidential opponents, Sanders says there should be no private insurance option except for items not covered by his Medicare for All act, such as elective procedures. Sanders argues that the increase in taxes would be more than offset by eliminating the premiums, deductibles and copayments associated with private health insurance. When asked during the first Democratic presidential debate about whether taxes would go up as a result of his health care plan, Sanders said: “Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in health care for what they get.” Sanders also supports importing drugs, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and pegging the price of medicine in the US to the median price in five other developed nations. More on Sanders’ health care policy
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Sanders has called for comprehensive immigration legislation, which includes providing a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has proposed providing legal status for those covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields from deportation some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children. Sanders has also called for restructuring Immigration and Customs Enforcement. More on Sanders’ immigration policy


Republicans rush to Trump's defense after FBI executes search warrant at Mar-a-Lago
Updated 2:09 PM ET, Tue Aug 9, 2022
Top congressional Republicans are rushing to former President Donald Trump's defense after the FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as part of an investigation into the handling of potentially classified material. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Attorney General Merrick Garland to "preserve your documents and clear your calendar," warning of an oversight probe "when" Republicans take back the chamber in the midterm elections. "The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization," said McCarthy. House Republicans briefly discussed the FBI search during a conference call on Tuesday, multiple sources tell CNN. Top Republicans made clear that they want to get answers and a full accounting from the Justice Department. The call had been previously scheduled in order to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act that's coming to the House floor Friday. But at the top of the call, McCarthy kicked things off then turned things over to Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. They repeated their demands for accountability, but did not signal what their specific oversight plans will be if they win the majority. Trump is also set to meet Tuesday with about a dozen members of the House Republican Study Committee, led by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, at his residence in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to a person familiar with their plans, providing a timely opportunity for the former president to rally members to his side after the FBI search. A July CNN poll found that a majority of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters do not want Trump to be their party's nominee in the 2024 presidential election. But the former president still is powerful within the party; Republican candidates across the country have sought his endorsement in their 2022 primaries, and on Saturday, Trump overwhelmingly won an unofficial straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas. Rallying around Trump, many Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, attacked Democrats instead after news of the FBI search, with some saying that Biden himself must be investigated. "There must be an immediate investigation and accountability into Joe Biden and his Administration's weaponizing this department against their political opponents -- the likely 2024 Republican candidate for President of the United States," said New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a member of House GOP leadership. Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, requested an "immediate briefing" from FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the agency's action was "unprecedented" and that he was "unaware of any actual or alleged national security threat" posed by materials in Trump's possession. Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, a potential 2024 contender, criticized Biden, saying that he "has taken our republic into dangerous waters" and called for Garland to either resign or be impeached. "At a minimum, Garland must resign or be impeached. The search warrant must be published. Christoper Wray must be removed. And the FBI reformed top to bottom," Hawley tweeted. Former Vice President Mike Pence called on Garland to provide a "full accounting" of the FBI search. "I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump," Pence tweeted. "Yesterday's action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken, and he must do so immediately," he said. Democrats responded that no one is above the law. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on NBC's Today show that she first learned of the FBI's search when it "flashed" on her phone, and repeatedly said she only knows what is public. "We believe in the rule of the law," Pelosi added. And Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the House Oversight Committee investigating Trump's handling of documents, called on the Justice Department to "fully investigate" the former president's handling of information. "Presidents have a solemn duty to protect America's national security, and allegations that former President Trump put our security at risk by mishandling classified information warrant the utmost scrutiny," said the New York Democrat. "Although details of today's actions at Mar-a-Lago are still emerging, it is clear that the Department of Justice must fully investigate President Trump's potentially grave mishandling of classified information." Some top Republicans did not attack the Justice Department immediately after the search. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office declined to comment. But many others cried foul about the Justice Department taking action against Trump, a former and presumed future rival of President Joe Biden. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said, "President Trump is likely going to run again in 2024," and noted the midterm elections are in less than 100 days away. "Launching such an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic." The FBI search also quickly became a talking point in the Florida gubernatorial race. Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican rival to Trump, tweeted, "The raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime's political opponents," referring to the Biden administration. Florida Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, shot back, "Governor DeSantis's knee-jerk partisan response to this law enforcement action proves yet again he is more interested in playing politics than seeking justice or the rule of law."