Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont, has made it clear that if the 2011 budget is going to pass, it’s going to have to do it without his vote. Saunders, calling the budget “obscene,” laments that the the rich are profiting off of the backs of the poor.
“Today, in order to reduce deficits that Republicans helped create, they now are slashing programs of enormous importance to working families, the elderly, the sick and children,” Sanders said. “At a time when the gap between the very rich and everybody else is growing wider, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse. It takes from struggling working families and gives to multi-millionaires. This is obscene.”
Sanders isn’t the only no vote, although Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is thinking no for completely different reasons. The Tea Party Republican believes the cuts aren’t deep enough, and is considering a symbolic filibuster of the bill to protest.
Paul, who said yesterday that he would vote against the agreement reached last Friday to cut $39.9 billion between now and September, acknowledged that he’s considering waging a filibuster, which would make it so that leaders need 60 votes to pass the deal and advance it to President Obama’s desk.
“Yes, but we haven’t really made a final decision on that yet,” Paul said on conservative talker Sean Hannity’s radio show.
A filibuster would make it difficult for the Senate to pass the budget deal by midnight Friday, when the government’s spending measure expires.
Although a filibuster is unlikely to block the legislation permanently, it could muck up the works on the stopgap continuing resolution, allowing Paul a little leverage to push for his “balanced budget” proposal, a non-starter in Congress even with a Republican majority.