Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020, a featured speaker on the first night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, urged his supporters to back Joe Biden and end Donald Trump’s march toward authoritarianism, saying “the price of failure is just too great to imagine.” Here is a highlighted transcript of his remarks:
Good evening. Our great nation is now living in an unprecedented moment.
We are facing the worst public health crisis in 100 years and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. We are confronting systemic racism and the enormous threat to our planet of climate change. And, in the midst of all of this, we have a president who is not only incapable of addressing these crises but is leading us down the path of authoritarianism.
This election is the most important in the modern history of this country. In response to the unprecedented crises we face, we need an unprecedented response—a movement, like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency—and against greed, oligarchy, and bigotry.
And we need Joe Biden as our next president.
Let me take this opportunity to say a word to the millions who supported my campaign this year and in 2016. My friends, thank you for your trust, your support, and the love you showed Jane, me, and our family.
Together we have moved this country in a bold new direction showing that all of us—Black and white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, native born and immigrant—yearn for a nation based on the principles of justice, love, and compassion.
Our campaign ended several months ago, but our movement continues and is getting stronger every day. Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered “radical,” are now mainstream. But, let us be clear, if Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy.
At its most basic, this election is about preserving our democracy. During this president’s term, the unthinkable has become normal. He has tried to prevent people from voting, undermined the U.S. Postal Service, deployed the military and federal agents against peaceful protesters, threatened to delay the election and suggested that he will not leave office if he loses. This is not normal, and we must never treat it like it is.
Under this administration authoritarianism has taken root in our country. I, and my family, and many of yours, know the insidious way authoritarianism destroys democracy, decency, and humanity. As long as I am here, I will work with progressives, with moderates, and, yes, with conservatives to preserve this nation from a threat that so many of our heroes fought and died to defeat.
This president is not just a threat to our democracy, but by rejecting science, he has put our lives and health in jeopardy. Trump has attacked doctors and scientists trying to protect us from the pandemic, while refusing to take strong action to produce the masks, gowns, and gloves our health care workers desperately need.
Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Trump golfs. His actions fanned this pandemic resulting in over 170,000 deaths and a nation still unprepared to protect its people.
The Economic Crisis
Furthermore, Trump’s negligence has exacerbated the economic crisis we are now experiencing.
Since this pandemic began, over 30 million people have lost their jobs and many have lost their health insurance. Millions of working families are wondering how they’ll feed their kids and worried that they will be evicted from their homes.
And how has Trump responded? Instead of maintaining the $600 a week unemployment supplement that workers were receiving, and the $1,200 emergency checks that many of you received, instead of helping small businesses—Trump concocted fraudulent executive orders that do virtually nothing to address the crisis while threatening the very future of Social Security and Medicare.
Trump the Fraud
My friends, the American people have caught on that this president and his administration are, to put it bluntly, frauds.
In 2016, Trump promised he would stand with working families. He said that he would “drain the swamp,” take on Wall Street and powerful special interests. He would protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and, by the way, he would provide health care to “everybody.” Well. None of it was true.
Instead, he filled his administration with billionaires and gave trillions to the top 1 percent and large corporations. He tried to throw 32 million people off of their health insurance, eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, and submitted budgets that proposed slashing Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
But the truth is that, even before Trump’s negligent response to this pandemic, too many hard-working families have been caught on an economic treadmill with no hope of ever getting ahead. Together we must build a nation that is more equitable, more compassionate and more inclusive.
I know that Joe Biden will begin that fight on day one.
Let me offer you just a few examples of how Joe will move us forward.
Joe supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This will give 40 million workers a pay raise and push the wage scale up for everyone else.
Joe will also make it easier for workers to join unions, create 12 weeks of paid family leave, fund universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year olds, and make child care affordable for millions of families.
Joe will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and fight the threat of climate change by transitioning us to 100 percent clean electricity over the next fifteen years. These initiatives will create millions of good paying jobs all across the country.
As you know, we are the only industrialized nation not to guarantee health care for all people. While Joe and I disagree on the best path to get to universal coverage, he has a plan that will greatly expand health care and cut the cost of prescription drugs. Further, he will lower the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 to 60.
To help reform our broken criminal justice system Joe will end private prisons and detention centers, cash bail, and the school to prison pipeline.
And to heal the soul of our nation, Joe Biden will end the hate and division Trump has created. He will stop the demonization of immigrants, the coddling of white nationalists, the racist dog whistling, the religious bigotry, and the ugly attacks on women.
My friends, I say to you, to everyone who supported other candidates in the primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.
Vice President Joe Biden, now the only Democratic candidate for president, acknowledged Bernie Sanders’ decision to suspend his campaign, lauding Sanders“for being a powerful voice for a fairer and more just America” and vowing to continue the fight for climate change, income inequality, universal health care. This is his statement:
Today, Senator Sanders announced he was suspending his campaign. Bernie has put his heart and soul into not only running for President, but for the causes and issues he has been dedicated to his whole life. So, I know how hard a decision this was for him to make — and how hard it is for the millions of his supporters — especially younger voters — who have been inspired and energized and brought into politics by the progressive agenda he has championed. Bernie has done something rare in politics. He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement. And make no mistake about it, I believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday. That’s a good thing for our nation and our future.
Senator Sanders and his supporters have changed the dialogue in America. Issues which had been given little attention — or little hope of ever passing — are now at the center of the political debate. Income inequality, universal health care, climate change, free college, relieving students from the crushing debt of student loans. These are just a few of the issues Bernie and his supporters have given life to. And while Bernie and I may not agree on how we might get there, we agree on the ultimate goal for these issues and many more.
But more than any one issue or set of issues, I want to commend Bernie for being a powerful voice for a fairer and more just America. It’s voices like Bernie’s that refuse to allow us to just accept what is — that refuse to accept we can’t change what’s wrong in our nation — that refuse to accept the health and well-being of our fellow citizens and our planet isn’t our responsibility too. Bernie gets a lot of credit for his passionate advocacy for the issues he cares about. But he doesn’t get enough credit for being a voice that forces us all to take a hard look in the mirror and ask if we’ve done enough.
While the Sanders campaign has been suspended — its impact on this election and on elections to come is far from over. We will address the existential crisis of climate change. We will confront income inequality in our nation. We will make sure healthcare is affordable and accessible to every American. We will make education at our public colleges and universities free. We will ease the burden of student debt. And, most important of all, we will defeat Donald Trump.
At this moment, we are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis in American history. There is enormous fear and pain and loss being felt all across the country. There are also untold stories of heroism — of nurses and health care workers and doctors and first responders and grocery store workers and truck drivers and so many others on the front lines of this crisis. Putting their own lives in danger for the rest of us. If we didn’t know it before, we know it now: This is the backbone of our nation.
Our first job is to get through the immediate crisis threatening the public health and getting into the pockets of America’s workers. But we also need to take a hard look at what we need to fix and change in this country. Many of the biggest cracks in the social safety net have been laid bare — from health care to paid sick leave to a more extensive and comprehensive system of unemployment benefits. We will need to address these. Just as we need to address rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. And we all know — the clock is ticking — we don’t have a moment to waste in combating the climate crisis.
As friends, Jill and I want to say to Bernie and Jane, we know how hard this is. You have put the interest of the nation — and the need to defeat Donald Trump — above all else. And for that Jill and I are grateful. But we also want you to know: I’ll be reaching out to you. You will be heard by me. As you say: Not me, Us.
And to your supporters I make the same commitment: I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed.
Together we will defeat Donald Trump. And when we do that, we’ll not only do the hard work of rebuilding this nation — we’ll transform it.
Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for president. In a live video message, he thanked the legions of volunteers and supporters, and reviewed the accomplishments the campaign achieved, insisting “We have won the ideological battle.” He congratulated Joe Biden “a very decent man, on his victory” and “standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.” Here are highlights: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
WE HAVE WON THE IDEOLOGICAL BATTLE
If we don’t believe that we are entitled to health care as a human right, we will never achieve universal health care.
If we don’t believe that we are entitled to decent wages and working conditions, millions of us will continue to live in poverty.
If we don’t believe that we are entitled to all of the education we require to fulfill our dreams, many of us will leave school saddled with huge debt, or never get the education we need.
If we don’t believe that we are entitled to live in a world that has a clean environment and is not ravaged by climate change, we will continue to see more drought, floods, rising sea levels and an increasingly uninhabitable planet.
If we don’t believe that we are entitled to live in a world of justice, democracy and fairness – without racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia or religious bigotry – we will continue to have massive income and wealth inequality, prejudice and hatred, mass incarceration, terrified immigrants and hundreds of thousands of Americans sleeping out on the streets of the richest country on earth.
Focusing on that new vision for America is what our campaign has been about and what, in fact, we have accomplished. Few would deny that over the course of the past 5 years our movement has won the ideological struggle. In so called “red” states, and “blue” states and “purple” states, a majority of the American people now understand that we must raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour; that we must guarantee health care as a right to all of our people; that we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, and that higher education must be available to all, regardless of income.
It was not long ago that people considered these ideas radical and fringe. Today, they are mainstream ideas – and many of them are already being implemented in cities and states across the country. That’s what you accomplished.
In terms of health care, even before the horrific pandemic we are now experiencing, more and more Americans understood that we must move to a Medicare for All, single-payer system. During the primary elections exit polls showed, in state after state, a strong majority of Democratic primary voters supported a single government health insurance program to replace private insurance. That was true even in states where our campaign did not prevail.
And let me just say this: In terms of health care, this horrific crisis that we are now in has exposed how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is. The current economic downturn we are experiencing has not only led to a massive loss of jobs, but has also resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance. While Americans have been told, over and over again, how wonderful our employer-based, private insurance system is, those claims sound very hollow now as a growing number of unemployed workers struggle with how they can afford to go to the doctor, or not go bankrupt with a huge hospital bill. We have always believed that health care must be considered as a human right, not an employee benefit – and we are right.
Please also appreciate that not only are we winning the struggle ideologically, we are also winning it generationally. The future of our country rests with young people and, in state after state, whether we won or whether we lost the Democratic primaries or caucuses, we received a significant majority of the votes, sometimes an overwhelming majority, from people not only 30 or under, but 50 years of age or younger. In other words, the future of this country is with our ideas.
THE CURRENT CRISIS
As we are all painfully aware, we now face an unprecedented crisis. Not only are we dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken the lives of many thousands of our people, we are also dealing with an economic meltdown that has resulted in the loss of millions of jobs.
Today, families all across the country face financial hardship unimaginable only a few months ago. And because of the unacceptable levels of income and wealth distribution in our economy, many of our friends and neighbors have little or no savings and are desperately trying to pay their rent or their mortgage or even to put food on the table. This reality makes it clear to me that Congress must address this unprecedented crisis in an unprecedented way that protects the health and economic wellbeing of the working families of our country, not just powerful special interests. As a member of the Democratic leadership in the United States Senate, and as a senator from Vermont, this is something that I intend to be intensely involved in, and which will require an enormous amount of work.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
That takes me to the state of our presidential campaign. I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth. And that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden, and the path toward victory is virtually impossible. So while we are winning the ideological battle, and while we are winning the support of young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful.
And so today I am announcing the suspension of active campaigning, and congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man, on his victory.
Please know that I do not make this decision lightly. In fact, it has been a very painful decision. Over the past few weeks Jane and I, in consultation with top staff and many of our prominent supporters, have made an honest assessment of the prospects for victory. If I believed we had a feasible path to the nomination I would certainly continue the campaign. But it’s not there.
I know there may be some in our movement who disagree with this decision, who would like us to fight on to the last ballot cast at the Democratic convention. I understand that position. But as I see the crisis gripping the nation – exacerbated by a president unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership – and the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour, I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.
But let me say this very emphatically: As you all know, we have never been just a campaign. We are a grassroots multi-racial, multi-generational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down, but always from the bottom on up. We have taken on Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and the greed of the entire corporate elite. That struggle continues. While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not.
Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The fight for justice is what our campaign was about. The fight for justice is what our movement remains about.
And, on a practical note, let me also say this: I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates. While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we should still work to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.
Then, together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. And we will fight to elect strong progressives at every level of government – from Congress to the school board.
As I hope all of you know, this race has never been about me. I ran for the presidency because I believed as president I could accelerate and institutionalize the progressive change that we are all building together. And, if we keep organizing and fighting, I have no doubt that our victory is inevitable. While the path may be slower now, we WILL change this country and, with like-minded friends around the globe, the entire world.
See also: In an opinion piece published today in The Guardian , Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) laid out the “core principles” which he believes must guide Congress’s next legislative package to tackle the coronavirus pandemic:
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday released a list of priorities to ensure the next coronavirus legislation passed by Congress is the boldest legislation in history, matches the scale of the crisis, saves lives and ensures working Americans are not left behind.
“We are in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that could lead to the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans and infect millions of others, and we are entering an economic downturn that could be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.” Sanders said. “In this unprecedented moment in modern American history, it is imperative that we respond in an unprecedented way. That means that Congress must pass, in the very near future, the boldest piece of legislation ever written in modern history. Today, I am outlining a set of six core provisions that must be included in new Congressional legislation to support working people during this horrific crisis.”
Sanders’ priorities include:
Keep workers on payroll – make sure that every worker in America continues to receive their paycheck, retroactive to the beginning of the crisis. An important precedent was set by keeping airline workers on payroll in the last bill
Use Medicare to make sure no one has to pay for health care during the crisis
A $2,000 monthly emergency payment to every person in the country until the crisis has passed
The forceful use of the Defense Production Act to direct the production of all of the personnel protective equipment, ventilators and other medical supplies
Hazard pay for workers on the frontlines of the emergency
$600 billion in direct fiscal aid to states and cities
Freezing monthly rent and mortgage payments
Emergency food for millions of families who would otherwise go hungry
In a mailing to supporters, Sanders described his priorities in more detail:
Our country is now facing its worst crisis in modern history. We are in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that could lead to the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans and infect millions of others, and we are entering an economic downturn that could be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Last week, 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment. This week that number doubled to 6.6 million claims — ten times higher than any other week on record. It is certain that well over 10 million people have lost their jobs — more than in the Wall Street crash of 2008.
In this unprecedented moment in modern American history, it is imperative that we respond in an unprecedented way. And that means that Congress must pass, in the very near future, the boldest piece of legislation ever written in modern history.
There are many, many issues that must be addressed in our response to this pandemic, and working together, we will make sure they are addressed.
1. Addressing the Employment Crisis and Providing Immediate Financial Relief
There is little doubt in my mind that we are facing an economic crisis that could be even worse than the Great Depression. The St. Louis Federal Reserve has projected that 47 million more people may become unemployed by the end of June, with unemployment reaching 32 percent. In my view, we must make sure that every worker in America continues to receive their paycheck during this crisis and we must provide immediate financial relief to everyone in this country.
An important precedent for that approach was taken in the recent stimulus package in which grants were provided to the airlines for the sole purpose of maintaining the paychecks and benefits of some 2 million workers in that industry through September 30. We must expand that program to cover every worker in America and we must make it retroactive to the beginning of this crisis. This is not a radical idea. Other countries, such as the UK, Norway, Denmark, France, and others have all come up with similar approaches to sustain their economy and prevent workers from losing their jobs.
Our primary goal during this crisis must be to prevent the disintegration of the American economy. It will be much easier and less expensive to prevent the collapse of the economy than trying to put it back together after it collapses.
To do this, we must also begin monthly payments of $2,000 for every man, woman, and child in our country, and guarantee paid family leave throughout this crisis so that people who are sick do not face the choice of infecting others or losing their job.
2. We Must Guarantee Health Care to All
Let’s be clear: we were facing a catastrophic health care crisis before the pandemic, and now that crisis has become much, much worse. Already, 87 million people are uninsured or underinsured. Layoffs will mean tens of millions of people more will lose their current insurance — which will result in countless deaths and bankruptcies. Already in the last two weeks, an estimated 3.5 million people have lost their employer-sponsored insurance.
And as the pandemic grows, we are seeing more and more reports of people who have delayed treatment due to concerns about cost. In this pandemic, uninsurance will lead to deaths and more COVID-19 transmissions.
Therefore, during this crisis, Medicare must be empowered to pay all of the deductibles, co-payments and out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for the uninsured and the underinsured. No one in America who is sick, regardless of immigration status, should be afraid to seek the medical treatment they need during this national pandemic. Let me be clear: I am not proposing that we pass Medicare for All in this moment. That fight continues into the future. But, for the moment, we must act boldly to make sure everyone can get the health care they need in the coming months.
3. Use the Defense Production Act to Produce the Equipment and Testing We Need
Unbelievably, in the United States right now, doctors and nurses are unnecessarily putting their lives on the line treating people suffering from the coronavirus because they lack personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, and surgical gowns. The CDC has directed health professionals to use homemade gear like bandanas or scarves and some workers at the VA are being told to re-use one surgical mask for a week at a time. HHS estimated that our country needs 3.5 billion masks in response to this crisis.
President Trump has utilized the Defense Production Act thousands of times for the military and for enforcement of his immigration policies, yet he has resisted using its power to save lives during the pandemic. That is unacceptable. We must immediately and forcefully use the Defense Production Act to direct the production of all of the personal protective equipment, ventilators and other medical supplies needed.
We must also utilize this power to produce antibody tests so we can begin figuring out who has already contracted the virus and has developed some immunity to COVID-19.
In addition, OSHA must adopt a strong emergency standard to protect health care workers, patients, and the public during this crisis. We must crack down aggressively on price gougers and hoarders, and use any means necessary to secure supplies.
4. Make Sure No One Goes Hungry
Even before this crisis hit, one in every seven kids in America was going hungry and nearly 5.5 million seniors in our country struggled with hunger. Already in this crisis we see lines at food banks and growing concern that our most vulnerable communities and those recently unemployed may struggle to feed their families.
As communities face record levels of food insecurity, we must increase SNAP benefits, expand the WIC program for pregnant mothers, infants, and children, double funding for the Emergency Food Program (TEFAP) to ensure food banks have food to distribute, and expand Meals on Wheels and School Meals programs. When necessary, we must also develop new approaches to deliver food to vulnerable populations — including door-to-door drop offs.
5. Provide Emergency Aid to States and Cities
Even as state and local employees like police officers, firefighters and paramedics work on the front lines of this pandemic, states and cities that pay their salaries are facing enormous budgetary pressures.
Congress must provide $600 billion in direct fiscal aid to states and cities to ensure they have the personnel and funding necessary to respond to this crisis. In addition, the Federal Reserve must establish programs to provide direct fiscal support and budgetary relief to states and municipalities.
6. Suspend Monthly Payments
Even before this crisis, half of the people in our country were living paycheck to paycheck. In America today, over 18 million families are paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing. Now, with growing unemployment, families are facing financial ruin if we do not act quickly and boldly.
That’s why we must suspend monthly expenses like rent, mortgages, medical debt and consumer debt collection for 4 months. We must cancel all student loan payments for the duration of this crisis, and place an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs.
Brothers and sisters: In this unprecedented moment in our history it is easy to feel like we are alone, and that everyone must fend for themselves. But that would be a mistake and a terrible tragedy. Now, more than any other moment in our lives, we must remember that we are all in this together — that when one of us gets sick, many more may get sick. And when my neighbor loses their job, I may lose my job as well.
Further, we cannot wait until our economy collapses to act. It will be far easier and less expensive to act now, in a very bold way, than to try to rebuild our country later.
If we work together and unite behind these basic principles of economic and health justice, I am confident that we will not only get through this unprecedented crisis together but that we will lay the groundwork for a better and more just America in the future.
The proposal put forward by Sanders today is backed by several progressive groups.
“Half of Veterans are over age 65, and we disproportionately suffer from preexisting conditions and economic challenges which make the COVID-19 pandemic particularly devastating for our community,” Common Defense Director Alex McCoy said. “Meanwhile, countless workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs are making extraordinary sacrifices to save lives, while going without sufficient protective equipment. Senator Sanders’ plan for Phase 4 of COVID-19 response takes the bold steps which are absolutely essential to saving countless lives and preventing immeasurable economic hardship. We must immediately implement his proposals to provide Americans with a financial lifeline, and pivot our industrial capacity to produce sufficient supplies. We applaud Senator Sanders for demonstrating real leadership in this crisis and centering the tangible needs of ordinary people, while Donald Trump downplays the threat and weaponizes aid to give favors to his political allies and bail-outs to his favorite corporate CEOs.”
“Senator Sanders’ economic rescue principles speak to the bold, fast action needed to protect and support people, and prevent corporations from consolidating economic and political power amidst a crisis,” People’s Action Director George Goehl said. “We urge him to build on this strong framework by including a Rent Zero policy in the short term: no rent or mortgage payments during the crisis, no late fees, and no debts from housing obligations during the crisis.”
“Bernie’s plan for the fourth phase of a federal legislative response centers people, not corporations. It is about helping us survive with the cash assistance, healthcare, nutrition, worker safety we need, and relief from monthly payments we cannot make. It speaks to the needs of frontline workers who are battling the pandemic and making it possible for the rest of us to shelter in place, said Ana Maria Archila, Co-Director of Center For Popular Democracy Action. “Bernie is uniquely courageous in demanding and lifting up the inclusion of immigrants, recognizing that low-income communities of color will bear the worst of this crisis. His plan provides urgent and direct relief to those most vulnerable — addressing the gaps left by previous relief bills and creating a foundation for long-lasting recovery.”
“Governments all around the world are keeping people employed and on payroll by covering salaries if businesses commit to not cutting wages or laying people off,” Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas said. “Senator Sanders is leading the fight to bring that common sense model to our country when so many workers and small business owners are confronting a complicated Rube Goldberg machine just to get a little relief.”
“This moment of crisis exemplifies the detrimental impact failing to account for the needs and extend protections to the most vulnerable has on the health of all within our communities, said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Director of Make the Road Action. “Only through a comprehensive response that covers the immediate and future healthcare, economic and maintenance needs of all members of our society can we prevent greater loss of life and a deeper economic downturn. Make the Road will continue to fight alongside Senator Sanders to ensure the next phase of COVID-19 legislative response includes these provisions and an eye towards justice.”
“The current government response has left behind some of our most vulnerable neighbors including the homeless, the undocumented, the unbanked, and those without internet connections, said Marisa Franco, Founder and Director of Mijente. “The priorities outlined by Senators Sanders for the next Coronavirus Stimulus Package are what our country needs to ensure everyone in our community can access the financial and medical support needed to withstand this crisis. We stand with Senator Sanders in demanding a $2,000 monthly emergency payment, emergency food, and Medicare to every person in our country regardless of their housing situation, immigration status or whether they have a bank account or internet connection.”
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Sen. Bernie Sanders gave remarks regarding the lessons we can learn from the growing coronavirus outbreak.This is a rushed transcript provided by the Sanders campaign:
Good afternoon everyone, thank you for being here. In the midst of a major healthcare and economic crisis currently facing our country, I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about the lessons we can learn long-term about what we are experiencing today.
As I discussed yesterday, our country is facing, as everybody knows, a medical and economic crisis, the likes of which we have not seen for generations. And we must prepare for this response in an unprecedented way, making certain that our government responds effectively, and protects the interests of all our people regardless of their income, or where they live. In other words, this is not just about giving tax breaks to large corporations, but about remembering the people today who don’t have much money, who are nervous about their economic futures and healthcare prospects.
to say we must massively increase the availability of test kits for the coronavirus and the speed at which the tests are
processed. We need to anticipate significant increases in hospital admissions, which means that we will need more
ICU units and ventilators, we will need more
doctors, nurses, and medical personnel of all kinds – and we must make sure
that these frontline personnel are well
protected from the diseases they are treating. I have talked to nurses
recently who worry very much about whether they are getting the kind of
knowledge and equipment they need so that they do not get sick.
We need to significantly improve
our communications and collaboration with other countries to ensure that we
are learning everything that we can about the successes and failures of other
countries as they deal with this crisis. And furthermore, we must be honest with the American people and
communicate as effectively and directly as we can with all of the scientific
information that we can provide.
Further, and most importantly, our
response to this entire crisis must be guided by the decisions of doctors,
scientists, and researchers, not politicians.
But as we struggle with this crisis, it is also important that we learn
the lessons of how we got to where we are today, and what we must do in the
future so that we are better prepared for similar crises that may come.
Poll after poll already shows us that the American people understand
that we must do what every other major country on earth does, and that is to guarantee healthcare to all of our people
as a human right, not a privilege. As we begin to see the failures and
vulnerabilities of the current healthcare system, my guess is that those
numbers and the demand for universal healthcare will only go up.
The American people are asking: how is it possible that we spend twice as much per capita as
the people of Canada and other major countries, while 87 million of us are uninsured or underinsured.
And obviously, in this crisis, and unbelievably, it means that people
who are sick today, people who woke up this morning with symptoms of the
coronavirus, are saying, “you know I feel sick but I cannot afford to go to a doctor.” And when somebody is
not treated for the virus – somebody who is unable to afford to go to that
doctor – that means that that infection can spread to many others, putting us
So it’s not just
a question that in normal times – tragically, unbelievably – that we lose 30,000 people a year because they
don’t get to doctor on time, but now the lack of healthcare threatens other
people as well.
How could it be, that when we spend so much more than what other countries are spending, we have millions of people who may be dealing with the virus but they cannot go to the doctor because they can’t afford it? That is a question that must resonate in every American’s mind.
If this isn’t a red flag for the current
dysfunctional and wasteful healthcare system, frankly I don’t know what is.
For the benefit of all of us, we must make sure that every person in
this country who needs to seek medical treatment can go to a doctor free of
charge regardless of their income. That is obviously what we must do now in the
middle of a crisis, but it is what we must do as a nation in the near future.
Here are just a few instances about how absurd and dysfunctional our
current healthcare system is.
It has been estimated that a full battery of tests for the coronavirus costs over $1,300. First of all,
take a look at that – $1,300 to get the test people need to have to know if
they have the virus or not.
In America today, 40% of our
people don’t have $400 in the bank to pay for an emergency expense. We
have half of our people living paycheck to paycheck.
If their car breaks down they can’t afford to get it fixed, and if
somebody tells them it costs $1,300 for the test to determine whether you have
the coronavirus if they’re sick, what are they supposed to do? What happens to
How can someone without insurance afford to pay $1,331 to get tested when they don’t even have $400 in the bank? What are they supposed to do? What happens to them? Do they go to a payday lender where the average interest rate is over 390%? Do they borrow money from their family? Or do they go without the test? Which every doctor in the world will tell them is a test they should have.
And while the Trump administration says it may cover co-pays to cover
the cost of testing for those who have insurance, they will not cover the cost of treatment – which could cost tens of
thousands of dollars.
How cruel is that? How absurd is that? To say to people, “we’re sorry
you have coronavirus, we covered the cost of the test, but now you’re on your
own and it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to get treated.” That
is totally absurd.
Clearly what we need to do is to make sure that if someone has the
coronavirus that person gets the treatment that they need.
words, our current system leaves people uninsured, but even if you have
insurance you may not even have the ability to travel to a doctor near you.
Because now we’re talking about a system in which many rural hospitals have closed down and
they cannot find a doctor in their communities.
The reality today, and this is an issue we must to deal with, is that we don’t have enough doctors, we don’t have
enough hospitals, and we don’t have enough clinics in rural communities and
Further, we are in a situation when we desperately need affordable prescription drugs, yet we have a
pharmaceutical industry that continues to make billions in profits by charging
outrageous prices for prescription drugs, sometimes 10x more in this country than in other countries.
In my view,
the most cost effective way to reform our dysfunctional and cruel system is to
move to a Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare system.
And I think in the midst of this crisis, more and more Americans
understand the truth of that.
It is nearly impossible to
believe that anyone can still think it’s acceptable to continue with a
healthcare system that leaves tens of millions of people uninsured. The cruelty
and absurdity of that view is more obvious in the midst of this crisis than it
has ever been.
And let’s be clear. Lack of
healthcare and affordable medicine does not only threaten the healthcare and
well-being of the uninsured. It threatens everyone who comes in contact with
In fact, what this crisis is beginning to teach us is that we are only as safe as the least insured
person in America.
Further, we are the only major
country on earth that does not mandate paid family and medical leave. And
we’re seeing how that crisis is impacting where we are today.
As we speak, there are millions of workers — right now — who are
being told to go to work, yet they may be ill and should be staying home.
But these very same families
will face financial ruin if they don’t go to work. These are workers in the
restaurant industry, transportation industry, tourism, retail — in other words
the people who interact with the public every single day.
Right now, at a time when half of our people live paycheck to paycheck,
and at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we must directly address the economic desperation facing a
huge number of Americans.
So we must finally pass a paid
family leave program in the United States to keep this virus from spreading
and to keep Americans healthy.
We must do it right now.
People should not be going to work when they are sick, it is unfair to
them, it is unfair to the people they are in contact with. And yet, that
reality exists, because we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee
paid family leave and sick time.
Finally, from a national
security perspective, it is
incomprehensible that we are dependent on China and other countries for masks,
for prescription drugs, for rubber gloves, and for key parts needed to make
advanced medical equipment like ventilators.
As a result of
globalization and our disastrous trade policies, we have been outsourcing
millions of jobs and factories overseas that have gutted our economy. Now we
are seeing another tragic and devastating result of those policies, as we find
ourselves dependent on other countries to provide the most essential things we
need to combat a pandemic and protect the lives of the people in our country.
Now trade is
a good thing, but it has to be based on common sense principles. It has to
be based on protecting American workers
and protecting our national security, making sure we are producing what we need
in this country in the event of a national crisis.
Now is the time to begin
bringing back production and manufacturing to the United States and enact fair
trade policies so that we are never in this position again.
Now here is the bottom line. As we are dealing with this crisis, we
need to listen to the scientists, to the
researchers, and to the medical professionals, not politicians.
We need to move quickly to prepare for the exponential increase of
cases we will be seeing here in our country.
But as we do that, we must begin thinking about how, as a society, we
can create a healthcare and economic system that is humane, that is compassionate,
and that works for all people, not just the wealthiest.
Now that is an issue that people have had to think about for a long
time, but I think in this moment of
crisis more and more people understand that we need fundamental changes to our
economy, and we need fundamental changes to our healthcare system.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. In what can be described as an love letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s supporters, Senator Bernie Sanders has released his “Reproductive Health Care and Justice for All” plan. But you decide how many of these provisions would ever be enacted. This is from the Sanders campaign:
WASHINGTON – Senator Bernie Sanders
released a major tenet of his presidential platform: Reproductive Health Care and Justice for All. The latest
policy plan builds on the Senator’s wide-ranging agenda for quality and
affordable health care for all people. The plan centers on two primary prongs
— ensuring universal and affordable access to reproductive health care, and a
comprehensive action plan to address the crisis of maternal mortality in
communities of color across the country.
“There has been no time in the history of this country when women, especially
Black women, have had the reproductive freedom and justice that they deserve.
In my administration, that will finally change,” said Senator Bernie Sanders.
“We must once and for all put an end to the unacceptable crisis of Black
maternal mortality, and ensure every woman in this country — no matter where
they’re from — has the basic right to quality healthcare.”
Sen. Sanders continued, “When I am in the White House, we will fight back
against the Republican assault on abortion rights across this country and
defend a woman’s fundamental right to control her own body. As President, there
will be no doubt that in the United States of America, abortion is a
constitutional right. Period.”
The Reproductive Health Care and Justice for All plan reflects the fact that
issues of justice must be addressed holistically and intersectionally. The plan
will be implemented in tandem with a comprehensive, progressive agenda to end
racial disparities in our economic, criminal justice, environmental, education,
and health care systems.
The full and detailed plan can be found here. The following is a summary of key policies and action
items as part of Reproductive Health Care and Justice for All.
As President, Bernie Sanders will:
Use executive authority to reverse President Trump’s anti-choice actions.
Codify Roe v. Wade in legislative statute, require all judicial nominees to support Roe v. Wade as settled law, and require preclearance for state abortion laws to ensure that state laws do not impose undue restrictions and barriers for abortion services.
Protect and expand funding for Planned Parenthood, and repeal the Hyde and Helms Amendments.
Ban state Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws that put undue and unnecessary burdens and regulations on doctors who provide abortion services with the goal of restricting access.
Ensure anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers do not receive federal funds.
Ensure that all communities have access to nearby abortion care.
Make birth control available over-the-counter, in addition to free under Medicare for All.
Ban ineffective abstinence-only sex education.
Increase access to and funding for reproductive services and facilities in communities of color, eliminate “contraceptive deserts,” and increase funding to hospitals where Black mothers and parents receive care.
Work with women of color-led community organizations to develop and coordinate policy.
Educate health care providers and medical school students on providing culturally competent care.
Ban discrimination by health care providers, and provide a right of action for patients discriminated against.
Establish standard protocols to rapidly address postpartum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal mortality in Black women.
Require hospitals that receive federal funding to hire culturally competent care liaisons to field complaints, and provide training to all labor and delivery staff, including nurses, doctors, and clerks.
Ensure there are sufficient OBGYN physicians, midwives, lactation consultants and doulas in medically underserved communities of color.
Create and expand programs for Black maternal mortality liaisons, patient advocates, care coordinators, and social workers at hospitals serving at-risk women of color.
Expand the Special Supplemental Nutrition
Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program for pregnant mothers,
infants, and children.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s response to coronavirus:
“Concern about the coronavirus continues to grow, yet the Trump administration’s response has been inadequate, misleading, and dangerous. By picking Vice President Mike Pence to lead the administration’s response to the pandemic, Trump has not only chosen someone completely unqualified, but the president has made clear that he’s more concerned about his own politics than the health and safety of the country.
“In my view, the Trump administration must take immediate action. First, they must replace Mike Pence with an expert on pandemics and disaster response. Second, the Trump administration must stop releasing misleading, unscientific, and false information about whether the coronavirus is controlled or when it will be controlled. Third, they must immediately staff their response team with experts and scientists to help us address a pandemic based on facts – Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow are political cronies, not scientists. In addition, Trump must sign the full $8.5 billion in coronavirus response funding proposed by Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“We need a president who does not play politics with our health and national security. Besides passing Medicare for All so everyone can see a doctor or get a vaccine for free, my administration will greatly expand funding for the Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health, work with the international community, including with the World Health Organization, and invest in research and technology to make vaccines available quickly,” Sanders stated.
One of the most severe criticisms of Senator Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is the price tag of his progressive programs including Medicare for All, College for All, universal child care and pre-K, and Green New Deal and how these programs would be paid for. In the Charleston, SC debate (number 10 for anyone who is counting), Senator Amy Klobuchar charged that his plans, collectively, would cost $60 trillion, or three times the entire US economy. Now, just ahead of the South Carolina and Super Tuesday primaries, Sanders has released his plan to pay for his major policy proposals, which he handed to Chris Cuomo during a CNN town hall on February 24:
College For All
It will cost $2.2 trillion to make public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition free and to cancel all student debt over the next decade. It is fully paid for by a modest tax on Wall Street speculation that will raise an estimated $2.4 trillion over ten years.
Bernie’s bill to expand Social Security will increase benefits for low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities by more than $1,300 a year. It is fully paid for by making the wealthiest 1.8% of Americans – those with incomes over $250,000 a year – pay the same rate into Social Security as working families.
This bill will also extend the solvency of Social Security into the year 2070 – ensuring that Social Security can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 50 years.
Bernie has introduced a proposal to eliminate all of the $81 billion in past
due medical debt held by 79 million Americans. It is fully paid for by
establishing an income inequality tax on large corporations that pay CEOs at
least 50 times more than average workers.
The $16.3 trillion climate change proposal that Bernie has introduced will
fundamentally transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and towards
energy efficiency and renewable energy. It will also create 20 million
good-paying union jobs in the process.
It is fully paid for by:
– Raising $3.085 trillion by making the fossil fuel
industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and
eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies.
– Generating $6.4 trillion in revenue from the wholesale of
energy produced by the regional Power Marketing Administrations. This
revenue will be collected from 2023-2035, and after 2035 electricity will be
virtually free, aside from operations and maintenance costs.
– Reducing defense spending by $1.215 trillion by
scaling back military operations on protecting the global oil supply.
– Collecting $2.3 trillion in new income tax
revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan.
– Saving $1.31 trillion by reduced the need for federal
and state safety net spending due to the creation of millions of good-paying,
– Raising $2 trillion in revenue by making large
corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
By averting climate catastrophe we will save: $2.9 trillion
over 10 years, $21 trillion over 30 years and $70.4 trillion
over 80 years.
If we do not act, the U.S. will lose $34.5 trillion by the end
of the century in economic productivity.
According to a February 15, 2020 study by epidemiologists at Yale University,
the Medicare for All bill that Bernie wrote would save over $450 billion in
health care costs and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths – each and every year.
Since 2016, Bernie has proposed a menu of financing options that would more
than pay for the Medicare for All legislation he has introduced according to
the Yale study.
These options include:
Creating a 4 percent income-based premium paid by employees, exempting
the first $29,000 in income for a family of four.
In 2018, the typical working family paid an average of $6,015 in premiums to
private health insurance companies. Under this option, a typical family
of four earning $60,000, would pay a 4 percent income-based premium to fund
Medicare for All on income above $29,000 – just $1,240 a year – saving that
family $4,775 a year. Families of four making less than $29,000 a year
would not pay this premium.
(Revenue raised: About $4 trillion over 10-years.)
Imposing a 7.5 percent income-based premium paid by employers,
exempting the first $1 million in payroll to protect small businesses.
In 2018, employers paid an average of $14,561 in private health insurance
premiums for a worker with a family of four. Under this option, employers
would pay a 7.5 percent payroll tax to help finance Medicare for All – just
$4,500 – a savings of more than $10,000 a year.
(Revenue raised: Over $5.2 trillion over 10-years.)
Eliminating health tax expenditures, which would no longer be needed
under Medicare for All.
(Revenue raised: About $3 trillion over 10-years.)
Raising the top marginal income tax rate to 52% on income over $10
(Revenue raised: About $700 billion over 10-years.)
Replacing the cap on the state and local tax deduction with an overall
dollar cap of $50,000 for a married couple on all itemized deductions.
(Revenue raised: About $400 billion over 10-years.)
Taxing capital gains at the same rates as income from wages and
cracking down on gaming through derivatives, like-kind exchanges, and the zero
tax rate on capital gains passed on through bequests.
(Revenue raised: About $2.5 trillion over 10-years.)
Enacting the For the 99.8% Act, which
returns the estate tax exemption to the 2009 level of $3.5 million, closes
egregious loopholes, and increases rates progressively including by adding a
top tax rate of 77% on estate values in excess of $1 billion.
(Revenue raised: $336 billion over 10-years.)
Enacting corporate tax reform including restoring the top federal
corporate income tax rate to 35 percent.
(Revenue raised: $3 trillion of which $1 trillion would be used to help finance
Medicare for All and $2 trillion would be used for the Green New Deal.)
Using $350 billion of the amount raised from the tax on extreme wealth
to help finance Medicare for All.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders is releasing what he says is “the most comprehensive and expansive early childhood policy ever proposed by a candidate running for president,” except that he does not attach a price tag nor say how it will be paid for. Separately, in a “60 Minutes” interview, he said the undetermined amount would be paid for from a wealth tax (Senator Elizabeth Warren has said the same thing, except she attaches dollar figures to her proposal.) This is from the Sanders campaign:
Sen. Bernie Sanders released the most comprehensive and expansive early childhood policy ever proposed by a candidate running for president, including guaranteeing free, high-quality child care for all children from infancy and pre-k starting at age three.
“Childcare must be guaranteed for every child regardless of their parents’ income, just like K-12 education. We know that the first four years of a child’s life are the most important years of human development, so it is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we do not properly invest in early childhood education.” Sanders said. “As president, we will guarantee free, universal childcare and pre-kindergarten to every child in America to help level the playing field, create new and good jobs, and enable parents more easily balance the demands of work and home.”
Today in America, our child care and pre-kindergarten system is failing our children, our parents, and our child care and early education workers. Not only is our child care infrastructure and access to high-quality care and early learning lacking throughout the country, child care is unaffordable in every single state in America.
The average family in America today spends nearly $10,000 a year on child care. For low-income families, the burden is even higher: a full 35 percent of these families’ income goes toward child care. According to a survey conducted last year, over half of mothers worked less hours to save on child care costs, and a quarter of moms left the workforce entirely due to care for their children.
Our dysfunctional system also punishes the people who take care of, nurture, and educate our youngest children. Child care workers, on average, make just $11 an hour despite the skyrocketing costs of child care and early education. Even though they take on the most important job in America – caring for our children – child care workers, 96 percent of whom are women and are disproportionately women of color, are paid starvation wages.
In the richest country in the history of the world, we have a moral responsibility as a nation to guarantee high-quality care and education for every single child, regardless of background or family income. We owe it to our children, parents, and child care workers to do much better.
As President, Bernie will:
Guarantee every child in America free full-day, full-week, high-quality child care from infancy through age three, regardless of income.
Provide child care at least 10 hours a day and ensure programs operate at times to serve parents who work non-traditional hours.
Guarantee every child access to a full-day, full-week pre-kindergarten education, regardless of income, starting at age 3.
Ensure students with disabilities receive the support they need and are included with their peers from an early age.
Double funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, which supports home visiting services from nurses, mental health professionals, social workers, and other support professionals for families with young children who live in low-income and at-risk communities.
Pass Bernie’s Universal School Meals Act that he introduced with Rep. Ilhan Omar to provide year-round, free universal school meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks — to every child in child care and pre-k.
Construct, renovate, or rehabilitate the child care facilities and pre-schools we need throughout the country.
Enact Bernie’s Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education to make transformative investments in our public education system to ensure the developmental gains made by implementing universal child care and pre-k are built upon when children start their K-12 education and:
More than double the number of early childhood educators in this country from over 1.3 million to more than 2.6 million.
Guarantee everyone working in the field of early education a living wage, ensure all are compensated commensurate with their experience and training, and ensure all lead teachers are paid no less than similarly qualified kindergarten teachers.
Require anyone providing direct service to young children have at least child a Child Development Associates (CDA) credential, all assistant teachers have at least an Associate’s Degree in early childhood education or child development, and all lead preschool teachers have a Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood education or child development.
Guarantee support for existing and new early care and learning professionals to get the education required to care for and teach young children, within a reasonable phase-in period, and ensure that these professionals reflect the cultural, linguistic, racial and ethnic diversity of the communities they serve.
Ensure that all early childhood educators have access to ongoing high-quality professional development that includes coaching and mentoring.
Provide early childhood workers with strong protections for unionizing, sector-wide collective bargaining, workers’ rights, workplace safety, and fair scheduling, regardless of immigration status, and that they have the information and tools they need to act on these rights and protections through the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act introduced by Rep. Pramilla Jayapal and enacting Bernie’s Workplace Democracy plan.
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders released hisHousing for All” plan. This
is a summary from the Sanders campaign:
– U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled hisHousing for All plan, a bold proposal to guarantee every American – regardless of
income – a fundamental right to a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home.
“There is virtually no place in America where
a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a decent two bedroom apartment. At a
time when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, this is
unacceptable,” said Sen. Sanders. “For too long the federal government has
ignored the extraordinary housing crisis in our country. That will end when I
am president. My administration will be looking out for working families and
tenants, not the billionaires who control Wall Street.”
In America today, there is a shortage of 7.4
million affordable homes for the lowest-income renters and more than 18 million
families in America are paying more than half of their limited incomes on
housing and utilities. The federal government should be expanding housing programs,
but Donald Trump wants to cut them by $9.6 billion, or 18 percent.
for All plan would instead end the housing crisis, build millions of
affordable housing units, implement a national rent control standard,
revitalize public housing, protect tenants, combat gentrification, end
predatory lending and modern day redlining, and end homelessness by:
nearly 10 million homes through the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund,
social housing, Community Land Trusts, and other housing programs.
funding tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance at $410 billion over the next
ten years and making it a mandatory funding program for all eligible
a national cap on annual rent increases at no more than 3 percent or 1.5 times
the Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher, to help prevent the exploitation
of tenants at the hands of private landlords.
exclusionary and restrictive zoning ordinances and replacing them with zoning
that encourages racial, economic, and disability integration that makes housing
McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants to more than $26 billion over the
next five years to build permanent supportive housing.
the mass sale of mortgages to Wall Street vulture funds and thoroughly
investigating and regulate the practices of large rental housing investors and
legislation to prevent abusive “contract for deed” transactions and using
existing authority to protect communities of color, which for too long have
been exploited by this practice.
Sanders’ proposal will be fully paid for by
establishing a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent. It will cost
$2.5 trillion over the next decade.
The details of the Sanders housing plan can be read here.