Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday denounced President Barack Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts as a “moral outrage” and reiterated his threat to filibuster the bill.
“I am willing to do anything and everything I can ... including a filibuster,” the Vermont Independent said.
Sanders also said that he was looking to recruit some GOPers to join his efforts to block the bill in the hopes of forcing a new round of negotiations. “Our job now is to find a handful of Republicans who are willing to vote no on this agreement,” he said.
The conservative anti-tax Club for Growth also announced its opposition to the deal Tuesday, but it isn’t clear if any Senators with close ties to the group — such as Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — will be persuaded to vote against the final tax measure.
Sanders lambasted the agreement, saying that “in my view, it is a moral outrage that at a time when this country has a $13.8 trillion national debt, a collapsing middle class and a growing gap between the very rich” that Republicans would demand an extension of tax cuts for the wealthy in exchange for middle-class tax cuts and unemployment insurance.
Although Sanders sought to limit his criticism to Republicans, he knocked Obama as well, arguing that his decision to bow to GOP demands for the tax cuts is not in the interests of the public. “I think he has not fully understood that the American people are ready for a fight.”
Sanders has quickly emerged as the leading critic of Obama’s deal, which also includes a two-year exemption from the estate tax on estates worth $5 million or less, as well as a handful of smaller Democratic tax priorities.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.