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Sen. Bernie Sanders On Congress And The Coronavirus Pandemic

Senator Bernie Sanders makes a point as he and former Vice President Joe Biden take part in a presidential debate.
Senator Bernie Sanders makes a point as he and former Vice President Joe Biden take part in a presidential debate.

Bernie Sanders is one of 96 senators who passed an unprecedented $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill last night. The bill is an attempt to stop an economic free fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. The package now moves to the House. If they pass it, the president said he’ll sign it.

“I have very little doubt that there will be another major piece of legislation within the next few weeks or month or two, given that we are looking at the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu of 1918,” Sen. Sanders told us in an interview this week.

The measure comes as a record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to new figures released by the Labor Department.

Sen. Sanders emphasized that he didn’t think the deal was perfect.

“This is not a time for thinking about the way we thought about things yesterday. We’ve got to think in a very, very bold way. And while this bill did not go anywhere near as far as I thought it should go, what it did do is expand unemployment benefits in a way that has never taken place before.”

And he’s  also still running for president, although his path to win the Democratic nomination, as in 2016, seems almost impossible.

Here’s his response to our question about that.

“The [coronavirus pandemic] is what makes this very different than 2016. You’ve already seen a number of states, I believe Pennsylvania is the latest, to actually postpone the elections. So you’re talking about an election without elections. What does that mean? That’s kind of unprecedented… I don’t do rallies anymore, we don’t have our people out knocking on doors, the nature of the campaign has changed profoundly. We are going to virtual campaigning, we are doing events almost every single night.”

He took our questions and yours about Congress’ response to the pandemic. You can also find the conversation in our podcast feed.


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Amanda Williams