“Does Washington work for all of us or just for those at the top?”
“The Republican agenda on healthcare and taxes may be popular with wealthy campaign donors, but it is widely disliked by the American people.”
—Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren
That is the question posed, and answered, by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in a op-ed for the New York Times published Sunday night. With a tax bill written for the benefit of “wealthy campaign contributors” hurtling toward passage and with “welfare reform” targeting programs relied upon by low-income and middle class Americans waiting in the wings, the Republican-controlled Congress has been quite explicit about whose interests it serves.
“Over the past year, Republicans have made their priorities clear,” Sanders and Warren write. “Their effort to repeal Obamacare would have left tens of millions of people without health insurance. Now Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate majority leader, wants to ram through an enormous tax giveaway to the wealthy before seating Doug Jones, Alabama’s newly elected Democratic senator. The Republican agenda on healthcare and taxes may be popular with wealthy campaign donors, but it is widely disliked by the American people.”
Sanders and Warren argue that these priorities are inverted. At a time of soaring inequality, Congress should be attempting to shrink the gap between the wealthiest and everyone else, not make it larger, the progressive senators suggest. With tens of millions of Americans lacking insurance, Congress should be working toward expanding healthcare—not adding millions more to the ranks of the uninsured.
With the Friday deadline to fund the government rapidly approaching, Congress has “a chance, right now, to take steps that will make life a bit better for millions of working people immediately and in the years to come,” Sanders and Warren write.
First and foremost, Congress “must take care of several urgent, overdue responsibilities that Republicans have ignored,” including taking action to protect 800,000 Dreamers whose legal immigration status is at risking to renewing “expired funding for community health centers and the Children’s Health Insurance Program so that tens of millions of families and nine million children don’t lose access to affordable healthcare.”
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