Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will be the socialist in charge of the Senate Budget Committee as the Democrats take over as the majority party. Along with its counterpart in the House of Representatives, the committee drafts the Congress’ annual budget and oversees the overall budget of the federal government.
Not to be confused with the Finance or Appropriations committees, which write tax and appropriations laws, the Budget Committee works on a broader level. It concentrates on the big picture on revenues and spending for the government as a whole. Sanders, who is a self-described Democratic socialist, inherits the job as the senior Democrat on the committee.
During a Sunday Fox News interview, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), warned that when Sanders takes over, Democrats are “going to raise your taxes; they’re going to impose regulations on the economy; they’re going to try to make D.C. a state; they’re going to try to implement parts of the Green New Deal and ‘Medicare-for-all’ through budget reconciliation.”
(Senator Graham was next in line to take over the committee had the Republicans maintained control of the Senate.)
Republicans will definitely have a fight on their hands. Bernie Sanders, in his signature tone of class-warfare, said so in a recent tweet: “As the incoming Chairman of the Budget Committee, I will fight to use (the budget reconciliation) process to boldly address the needs of working families.”
The Senate can use a process known as budget reconciliation to bypass a filibuster. Under the arcane Senate rules contrivance of budget reconciliation, the Democrat-controlled Senate only needs 51 votes to advance budget related legislation, rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.
Just as Democrats came to regret Majority Leader Harry Reid’s removing the filibuster from federal court appointments, the Republicans budget reconciliation scheme has backfired somewhat. Congressional Republicans crafted budget reconciliation as a way to protect their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace undermining from filibusters.
Sanders makes no secret that he is a big fan of total government control and funding of health care. Candidate Joe Biden argued that Sanders’ plan was fiscally irresponsible and would require raising middle-class taxes. Biden claimed the plan “would cost more than the entire federal budget that we spend now.”
Economists and other Washington, DC thinktank prognosticators came up with a $34 trillion cost over the next ten years, which would definitely require raising taxes, even though it would not exceed projected budgets. The cost would account for about 75% of the $45 trillion our government would spend.
Whatever the cost, the new President wants the Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion virus relief bill, including $1,400 checks for most Americans as well as an extended temporary boost in unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through September.
Biden also wants to include a federally mandated increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour with expanded leave for workers, and bigger tax credits for families with children.
So, the budget pendulum is on the spending side. Where the revenue is coming from appears to be the classic definition of ignorance and apathy: Bernie Sanders doesn’t know, and the Georgia voters who turned this mess over to Democrats, don’t care.