Working Overtime: Sanders’ Senate Floor Rant Runs Over Eight Hours

Dec 10, 2010 6:44pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, has now been protesting the tax bill on the Senate floor for over eight full hours today. As Friday afternoon drifted into Friday evening drifted into Friday night, Sanders was still just as passionate as he had been this morning. “We should be embarrassed that we are for one second talking about a proposal which gives tax breaks to billionaires!” he railed. “What I’m asking the American people is to stand up and let your senators, let your congressman know, how you feel,” he said later. “Do you really believe that millionaires and billionaires who have done phenomenally well in recent years need an extended tax cut at a time when their taxes have been lowered substantially in recent years? Do we really need to give tax breaks to the rich in order to drive up the national debt so that our kids and grandchildren will pay higher taxes in order to pay off that national debt caused by tax breaks for the rich?” “If you don’t believe that, if you don’t think that’s right, let the President of the United States know about it, let your senator know about it, let your congressman know about it. We need a handful – seven or eight members of the United States Senate – to hear from their people, to say, ‘Wait a minute, don’t hold my kids hostage. Don’t force them to pay higher taxes in order to give tax breaks to the very very rich.’ If the American people stand up and by the millions let their senators and congressmen and the president know, we can win this thing. We can win this battle. It’s not too late yet. And that’s what I hope will happen.” Sanders argued that President Obama has “severely damaged” his credibility with the tax cut compromise. “The president campaigned against these tax breaks. The president does not believe in extending these tax breaks to the rich, but he felt he had to make the compromise. I thought he made a bad compromise. What our Republican friends are saying over and over again is that if you rescind, end these tax breaks to the rich, you are raising taxes. Two years from now in the midst of a presidential campaign when President Obama – if he is the Democratic candidate – says to workers, ‘I’m going to extend these extensions of tax breaks for the rich,’ his credibility has been severely damaged. And the American people know it. Can they trust him? That’s what he told them then and that’s what he’ll tell them in two years. Is he going to be believed? I don’t think so.” He is now into hour #9.  

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