Bernie Sanders Torches the Idea That His $3.5 Trillion Bill Is ‘Popular’

Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders during a Senate Budget Committee’s hearing to examine President Biden’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2022, June 8, 2021. (Shawn Thew/Pool via Reuters)

Senator Bernie Sanders has taken to offering two talking points in favor of his preposterous $3.5 trillion spending bill. The first talking point holds that it is somehow outrageous that 52 Senators are able to prevent 48 Senators from passing the legislation he covets. The second talking point is that his bill is “popular.”

The first claim is so ridiculous that Joe Manchin has begun calling it out in his press releases. The second is so ridiculous that . . . well, Bernie Sanders has begun calling it out in his press releases.

Yesterday, Sanders issued a statement that began like this:

Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better legislation – and the need to lower prescription drug costs, expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision, greatly improve home health care, make child care and housing affordable, establish Paid Family and Medical Leave and address the existential threat of climate change. And the polling numbers go astronomically high when people understand that this $3.5 trillion bill will be paid for by demanding that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.

Which sounds really promising for Sanders. Until we get to the second paragraph, in which he explains that:

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polling also shows that despite President Biden having introduced this proposal five months ago, a majority of Americans have very little knowledge as to what is in this bill – one of the most consequential pieces of legislation for working people in the modern history of our country. Americans can be for the bill. They can be opposed to the bill. But it is absurd that so many of them don’t know what is in the bill.

In his conclusion, Bernie writes that “It is hard to ask people to have faith in their government when they have little understanding of what their government is trying to do.” Perhaps so. But it is also “hard” — read: impossible — to say that Americans exhibit “overwhelming support for the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better legislation” when when, per your own admission, “a majority of Americans have very little knowledge as to what is in this bill.”

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