Moments ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist from Vermont, stopped by the Senate press gallery unannounced to deliver red-faced invective trashing the proposed tax deal between the White House and the GOP, apparently doubling down on his earlier threat to filibuster the plan.
He said he is willing to do “anything and everything” to defeat the current proposal — which he called a “moral outrage” — and prevent a tax-rate extension for upper-income earners, by filibuster if necessary.
Sanders said he was going to find “a handful of Republicans” willing to reject the current deal (he didn’t say whom he had in mind) and come up with a “fairer” proposal. The prospect of increasing the deficit by extending the tax rates for high earners, he said, would be enough to convince some conservatives to oppose the current plan.
He dramatically accused Republicans of intentionally growing the deficit and wanting to provoke a fiscal crisis by passing these tax cuts, in order to set the stage for severe cuts to spending and benefits down the road.
Sanders rejected President Obama’s earlier description of hard-nosed liberal opposition as “sanctimonious,” saying that while he understands where the president is coming from in trying to compromise, the current deal is not what the American people want.
“I think we should draw the line, I think we should fight it, I think we should put pressure on Republicans. … I think this is a winnable fight,” he said.