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Posted at 8:02 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Sen. Bernie Sanders takes 8.5-hour stand against Obama's tax-cut package

By Felicia Sonmez

In one of the Senate's rarer spectacles, Vermont's Bernie Sanders (I) delivered Friday delivered a day-long speech from the floor, railing against the tax-cut deal President Obama struck with congressional Republicans.

Sanders began speaking at 10:25 a.m. and wrapped up more than 8 1/2 hours later at 7 p.m. Several senators, including Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) took turns presiding as Sanders spoke to a chamber scattered with a handful of Senate staffers and bored-looking pages, as well as a dozen or so curious onlookers watching from the gallery.

Speaking briefly with reporters after his marathon, Sanders said that he had initially planned to fly back to Vermont tonight but probably would rest in Washington instead.

Asked why he stopped speaking when he did, Sanders replied, "I'm tired."

He outlined again his reasons for going to great lengths to oppose the tax-cut package.

"It's not just standing there forever," Sanders said. "It's trying to make the points that you want to make, and I made them. I made them time and time again. And I just think that the American people have now got to stand up and tell the Senate that when we have a huge national debt, it is insane to be giving huge tax breaks to the people who don't need it, the wealthiest people in this country."

Was Sanders aware that, at one point during his remarks, Obama brought former president Bill Clinton into the White House briefing room for an impromptu news conference in which Clinton pushed for the passage of the tax legislation?

"No," Sanders said. "I have a lot of respect for both President Clinton and President Obama; both of them are friends of mine. I think they're wrong on this issue. I think they are selling the American people short. ... On this issue, I respectfully disagree with both of my friends, the president and the former president."

Sanders added that he's planning to keep up his opposition to the tax plan next week, although "I'm not going to be on the floor quite so long."

Would he consider another marathon session in the future?

"You've asked me at a very bad time," Sanders said, laughing as he stepped into an elevator just off the Senate floor -- with a staffer carrying a box of pizza following close behind.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 10, 2010; 8:02 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bill Clinton, back in the White House briefing room
Next: Justice Breyer: I'll go to State of the Union

Comments

Thank you Bernie. As long as you are around--I have hope. I was a Vermonter for 50 years and I voted for Bernie at every opportunity. He is the only politician I've met who always speaks his heart and mind consistently and passionately. He is a brilliant man with a huge heart.


business neon signs
business opportunity

Posted by: getjiggly2 | December 14, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

Listening for a few minutes several times, the wankster Sanders tried to make the same half dozens points over and over again. I guess as a wankster, he thinks that repeating something over and over again makes it true.Gald I don't live in Vermont and have this guy representing me.

Posted by: alantich2000 | December 13, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The claim that America is conservative is misleading because "conservative" has ambiguous meaning and "Only about one in five self-identified conservatives holds consistently conservative issue positions: right of center positions on both dimensions... A larger group (30%) of conservatives is operationally conservative only on the narrow set of issues related to traditional morality, not the broader social welfare dimension. The 'economic conservatives,' conservative on social welfare issues alone, are not very numerous (15%). But the largest group (34%) of self-identified conservatives rejects operationally conservative beliefs on both the social welfare and the moral issue domains. This stands in contrast to the less than 4% of self-identified liberals who hold no liberal issue views."
Political scientists Christopher Ellis and James Stimson - http://www.unc.edu/~jstimson/Pathways.pdf , quoted at http://mediamatters.org/research/200910270034 along with other pertinent data.

How can we vote for an opinion to the left of the Democratic candidate without helping to elect the Republican? In some cases I see no way to do it. Voting for the Democrat is the best option even if you have to hold your nose to do it. But in cases where polls say the election is already statistically decided you can vote for a candidate to the left of the Democrat. That may seem like a small thing but I live in a part of Maryland where Democrats always win and I think it would make a big impression on Democratic candidates if they were to start finding they won the election but many constituents voted for candidates to their left.

Posted by: RandyMoor | December 12, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

newsboy3...Since we only have 2 parties that ever have a chance of winning an election, what's your point?
The majority of America is still conservative to moderately middle of the road, not liberal socialists.

Posted by: jhnjdy | December 12, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Just because many Americans are idiots, doesn’t make the senator wrong. The fact is, the Republican Party represents just .03% of the population. The fact that 38% of Americans identify themselves as “Republican” simply means that 37.7% of the US population is unable to have a rational thought. Many “Christians” are Republicans for moral issues; what a farce. When was the last time Republicans did anything to appease that base? Indeed, just a decade ago the Republican controlled House struck down a measure that would eliminate the tax exempt gag order on preachers inconsideration of speaking on political matters forthrightly.

Posted by: newsboy3 | December 11, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

If the President really did care about the people he claims to be saving from "hostage takers" he would have made the arguments Senator Sanders made in this speech as vigorously as the Senator did and used the bully pulpit to force them into prominence in the media. Then he would have asked the American people to tell him whether they support tax cuts for the rich and made sure everyone knew the results. Then he would have STARTED to negotiate a deal.

Posted by: RandyMoor | December 11, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Nothing more than a self admitted Socialist full of hot air, that wants to redistribute wealth to a point that everyone has the same amount of pennies in there pocket,two cows, 1.5 kids and a quarter acre with a tar paper shack on it.

Posted by: jhnjdy | December 11, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I’m proud to be a descendant of Sam Adams, now more than ever. Cousin of John Adams and leader of the one, true Tea Party, Sam and his compatriot­s tossed an aromatic plant into Boston Harbor and spoke truth to power. A courageous act of conscience and defiance, it dealt a death blow to the tyranny of an aristocrac­y and heralded the birth of a democratic society. Sam and his compatriot­s, believing in the common good, threw tea, not their fellow citizens, overboard.

Trust me, Sam’s rolling in his grave, his heroic act hijacked by today’s Tea Party, by the rich and powerful and their stooges to justify a cowardly and treasonous mission: tossing the majority of American citizens overboard at the bidding of a tyrannous would-be aristocrac­y. Barak Obama and Bill Clinton's actions as President have only emboldened and advanced the mission of the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and the new Aristocrac­y to disenfranc­hise, enslave, and lay waste to a majority of Americans. BTW, the new aristocrac­y is a den of Democrats and Republican­s, enemies of the people, by-partisa­n iniquity. The political landscape in this country is not left to right. It's top to bottom.

I’ve nothing left to lose but my integrity, humanity, and future. Join Sam and me. Join us online. Join us in your daily life. Join us in the streets. Speak truth to power. What have you got to lose? Absolutely nothing. Nothing but your chains. What have you got to gain? Your self respect. Your soul. Your life. Absolutely everything.

Posted by: jackweb1 | December 11, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

What with the Washington Post being a newspaper and all, should I really have to be here asking just what it was that Bernie Sanders said?

Posted by: chaos1 | December 11, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

I applaud Senator Sanders for his heroic effort to explain the tax bill from his perspective. He made some very valid and absolutely factual points.

Every American should have had the priviledge of listening and watching him today. I, for one, was swayed away from the bill as it stands now, and believe the adding to our debt with borrowing again from China is wrong; funny, the GOP don't seem to mind at all.

At first glance, for me, the 2% payroll break on Social Security seemed like a great idea; putting more money into the hands of the worker, which we know stimulates the economy. However, Sanders pointed out the less money to be taken in by S.S. for two years willdelude it, thus, making the case for the GOP to want to either privatize it, or continue their war on it by making retirement age longer, etc.

This is just one example. Senator Sanders made the case in a most eloquent style. His dedication to his country and its people is obvious.

The facts President Obama laid out is real, too. And, I do understand his wanting to protect the middle class and not raise taxes on us. His decision was made in order not to jeopardize this. He was not willing to take that gamble. If he is right, and the GOP won't budge, it would be a tragedy for our economic recovery; this is very real.

But, the tax breaks for the uber wealthy is wrong, as well as the estate tax that is proposed. It will put us further in debt to China by billions more dollars. This is very real, too.

Posted by: jmardiwelch | December 11, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

I applaud Senator Sanders for his heroic effort to explain the tax bill from his perspective. He made some very valid and absolutely factual points.

Every American should have had the priviledge of listening and watching him today. I, for one, was swayed away from the bill as it stands now, and believe the adding to our debt with borrowing again from China is wrong; funny, the GOP don't seem to mind at all.

At first glance, for me, the 2% payroll break on Social Security seemed like a great idea; putting more money into the hands of the worker, which we know stimulates the economy. However, Sanders pointed out the less money to be taken in by S.S. for two years willdelude it, thus, making the case for the GOP to want to either privatize it, or continue their war on it by making retirement age longer, etc.

This is just one example. Senator Sanders made the case in a most eloquent style. His dedication to his country and its people is obvious.

The facts President Obama laid out is real, too. And, I do understand his wanting to protect the middle class and not raise taxes on us. His decision was made in order not to jeopardize this. He was not willing to take that gamble. If he is right, and the GOP won't budge, it would be a tragedy for our economic recovery; this is very real.

But, the tax breaks for the uber wealthy is wrong, as well as the estate tax that is proposed. It will put us further in debt to China by billions more dollars. This is very real, too.

Posted by: jmardiwelch | December 11, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

"Bernie wasted 8 valuable hours that had no chance of changing anything instead of working hard on America's challenges. Yup, Vermont deserves this whiner. He can't lead, so he whines....whatever....he's tired and probably sleeping while the rest of Congress continues working to help America. Sweet dreams, Comrade"
-------------------------------------
Powerange: Wasted 8 valuable hours? how were they valuable?

Per the story "Sanders spoke to a chamber scattered with a handful of Senate staffers and bored-looking pages, as well as a dozen or so curious onlookers watching from the gallery."

Other storys' claim our Senate is only in session from Tuesday afternoons through Thursdays, so the Senator was speaking on CNN but not to a packed chamber - as far as I'm concerned, the people of Vermont are the best judges of whether or not he wasted his time.

Posted by: shadowmagician | December 10, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Senator Sanders was great. His entire 8.5 hours should be shown
to all students in high school and in college.

I have never been so proud of a senator in my life to tell
the truth about the Fed and the Republicans.

Posted by: America2010 | December 10, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Senator Bernie Sanders is the politician we all wished we had representing us. Although I live in Illinois, I have followed Bernie for many years in both the House and Senate. You know without question that his advocacy and votes are based on principle and what is best for the American people and not based on political contributions and special interests. He has been a consistent champion and voice for labor, minorities and those without a voice. Vermont should be very proud of their Senator.

Posted by: readsome5 | December 10, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Bernie wasted 8 valuable hours that had no chance of changing anything instead of working hard on America's challenges. Yup, Vermont deserves this whiner. He can't lead, so he whines....whatever....he's tired and probably sleeping while the rest of Congress continues working to help America. Sweet dreams, Comrade!

Posted by: powerange | December 10, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Bernie Sanders for President.
A truly authentic man for all seasons.
I never watch CSPAN, but he was so engrossing, I could not turn away.

Posted by: sundiego | December 10, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Bernie wasted 8 valuable hours that had no chance of changing anything instead of working hard on America's challenges. Yup, Vermont deserves this whiner. He can't lead, so he whines....whatever....he's tired and probably sleeping while the rest of Congress continues working to help America. Sweet dreams, Comrade!

Posted by: powerange | December 10, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the soliloquy by Bernie Sanders could be call the philabluster ?
Sander states what he believes. This is something rare in Washington.

Posted by: peterroach | December 10, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Bernie. As long as you are around--I have hope. I was a Vermonter for 50 years and I voted for Bernie at every opportunity. He is the only politician I've met who always speaks his heart and mind consistently and passionately. He is a brilliant man with a huge heart.

Posted by: Nestate | December 10, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you can technically call it a filibuster since the bill wasn't even scheduled to be voted on today.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | December 10, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Tenzors: It's amazing that Sanders can keep a straight face when he invokes the national debt. It's similarly amazing that the reporters didn't break out in derisive laughter at such a preposterous claim.

---

It's no more laughable than supply-side economics. On one side there is a party that wants to shrink revenue on the other is a side that wants to provide services. Their constituents want both . . . . Blaming Democrats (or in the case an independent) for the deficit shows a complete lack of critical reasoning. Wealthy people have complained about their taxes being too high as long as there has been government--this country did not have a serious non-wartime debt problem until the Reagan reaction. Debt does not come from entitlement programs (including those that protect the interest of the wealthy); it comes from not paying for entitlements. A party that stands for tax cuts is no more plausible on debt unless they come forward with a plan that cuts services and deals with the social consequences of those cuts.

Posted by: orgbluspider | December 10, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing. Liberals were on here just yesterday saying the Senate was broken after DADT failed, that the filibuster was unconstitutional. Now, they're applauding a DEMOCRAT using the filibuster against HIS OWN PARTY's LEADER! LOL I've seen it all. Stop talking Bernie so the unemployed don't have to go another night without food and support. Why do you pretend to care, when obviously you don't.

Posted by: dnara | December 10, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could have shared pizza and a beer with Bernie Sanders. He certainly earned his money today.

Posted by: herrbrahms | December 10, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing that Sanders can keep a straight face when he invokes the national debt. It's similarly amazing that the reporters didn't break out in derisive laughter at such a preposterous claim.

Posted by: tenzors | December 10, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

It is ironic that Bernie, an independent, may be the only real Democrat left in congress. He shows us all what a good and decent human being looks like. Thanks you, Bernie.

Posted by: Jihm | December 10, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Bernie for having courage and integrity. Now if only more in Congress would follow your example!

Posted by: greeenmtns | December 10, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

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