Politics Senate GOP blocks Sanders on preventing entitlement cuts

01:35  11 january  2017
01:35  11 january  2017 Source:   The Hill

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Senate Republicans blocked a push on Tuesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to prevent cuts to entitlement spending.

Senators voted 49-49 on an amendment from the former presidential candidate, with 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote for Sanders's proposal.

Sanders had tried to win over GOP support by arguing that his amendment was in line with campaign rhetoric from President-elect Donald Trump.

"It says that we should support President-elect Trump when he campaigned throughout this country saying that I, Donald Trump, will not cut Social Security, will not cut Medicare, will not cut Medicaid," Sanders said ahead of the vote.

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But Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) rejected Sanders's logic, firing back that "I don't think that's exactly what this is about." 

"A vote in favor of this amendment is a vote against repealing ObamaCare," Enzi, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, added.

Sanders filed his measure to a shell budget resolution that includes instructions for repealing ObamaCare. Under a budget process known as "reconciliation," Republicans are expected to pass the rules this week with a simple majority and require no Democratic support.

The amendment would have created a "point of order" against legislation that would "break Donald Trump's promise not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid" meaning that any proposal would have been subject to a higher 60-vote threshold.

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Sanders ’s bill would have eliminated that cut as well. Sanders slammed Republicans for trying to attach the issue of Iran sanctions to the measure. “Whatever your views are, it just does not belong in a veterans bill,” Sanders said at a press conference after the vote. “Unfortunately, it’s become standard practice around here for the majority to pursue partisan legislation in a take-it-or-leave-it manner,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP senators raise questions over Trump's secretary of State pick More electors join call for Russia interference briefing

"Do we hold him to his word or do we just say hey, that's just campaign rhetoric? He lied. It's okay. That's politics in America. It doesn't matter what he said," Sanders asked from the Senate floor.

Sanders pointed to a string of quotes throughout Trump's presidential campaign, including a March 29 interview where he criticized House Speaker Paul Ryan for wanting to "knock down" Social Security and "knock out" Medicare.

"I'm not going to cut it, and I'm not going to raise ages, and I'm not going to do all of the things that they want to do," Trump said during a radio interview.

Sanders also hit at Trump over Twitter on Tuesday, outlining 14 comments from Trump on protecting entitlement programs.

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