Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks with reporters while leaving the U.S. Capitol on Monday, August 9, 2021.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) talks to reporters while leaving the U.S. Capitol on August 9, 2021. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Forget Manchin. Sanders Says Entire Democratic Party Must Show 'Guts' Against Corporate Interests

The focus of the party, says the Vermont senator, must be "to restore faith with the American people that they actually stand for something."

Andrea Germanos

Stressing a need to pass the "enormously important" Build Back Better bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders said this week that failure to do so would indicate to Americans that Democrats "don't have the guts to take on the powerful special interests."

The Vermont Independent's remarks on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" on Monday night came after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced on Fox News that he was a "no" on his party's social spending and climate reconciliation package, delivering a potential death blow to the legislation his opposition had already weakened.

The announcement prompted ire from progressive groups as well as renewed demands from some Democrats that the Senate be brought back into session so that Manchin would have to go on record for voting against a bill that would provide much-needed benefits to his own constituents and beyond.

In an apparent reference to Manchin and another right-wing Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Sanders criticized "two senators" who've acted with regards to BBB negotiations that "it's my way or the highway."

Such a stance, said Sanders, is "an arrogance that I think is unacceptable."

He also rebuked "people like Mr. Manchin," who are "turning their backs on the working families of this country, allowing the big money interest once again to prevail and basically saying, 'If I don't get everything I want, I'm not going forward.' That is not acceptable to me."

What has to happen now, he said, is for leadership to bring the BBB bill to the Senate floor for a vote. Then, Manchin "will have to tell the people of West Virginia and this country why he is supporting all of the powerful special interests in this country—the drug companies, the insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry, the very wealthy who do not want to pay anything more in federal taxes."

Another step is for Democrats to have better messaging around the bill, said Sanders. He gave as one example the monthly checks from the expanded Child Tax Credit families are poised to see cut off-—"despite the fact we've reduced childhood poverty through that by almost 40%."

The focus right now, Sanders said, must not be solely on Manchin but instead fall more broadly.

"It is about the Democratic Party trying to restore faith with the American people that they actually stand for something," said Sanders.

"Do we have the guts to take on the drug companies who are spending over $300 million in lobbying right now? Is that the Democratic Party?" he asked.

"Do they have the guts to take on the private insurance company who do not want us to expand Medicare and dental, hearing, and eyeglasses?" he added. "Do we have the courage to do what the scientists are telling us has to be done and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel?"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Flint Residents 'Disgusted' After Court Throws Out Indictments of Top Officials

"It has become increasingly clear that the judicial system is not a viable option for a poor majority Black community facing injustice," said Flint Rising.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders, Fetterman Urge Buttigieg to Fine Airlines Over Flight Cancellations

"The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute, and delaying flights for hours on end," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·


In Blow to Voting Rights, SCOTUS Saves Louisiana's Racially Rigged Electoral Map

"Black Louisianans deserve fair representation. The fight for racial justice and equality is far from over," vowed one civil rights group.

Brett Wilkins ·


Watching US With Horror, European Groups Push Leaders to Strengthen Abortion Rights

"This is an important moment for leaders across Europe who are committed to reproductive rights to lead by example and galvanize action in their own countries," said one campaigner.

Jake Johnson ·


Women Face Chaos, Torment as Abortion Clinics Shutter Across US

Clinic workers are attempting to get patients appointments out-of-state while women stockpile emergency contraception, fearing overcrowded clinics even in states that protect reproductive rights.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo