Sanders Issues Ultimatum on Medicare Expansion, Which Manchin Says He Opposes

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I., Vt.) speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., February 25, 2021. (Susan Walsh/Reuters)

Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and his House ally Representative Pramila Jayapal have issued an ultimatum that a Medicare expansion must be a part of the reconciliation bill. The problem is, Senator Joe Manchin has already indicated that he opposes it.

A few weeks ago, Manchin declared that, “spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity.” Earlier, he told reporters, “I’ll say this about Medicare: We need to stabilize it. By 2026, you understand the trust fund is going to be insolvent. … I want to make sure we are stabilizing what we have before we start going down this expansion role.”

But Sanders and Jayapal are digging in.

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