Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has announced that he will be holding a series of town hall meetings “to hear from working class Americans about how severe Republican budget cuts would affect their families, parents and health care,” according to a statement from his office.
Sanders has not been quiet about his opposition to the GOP’s budget plan. During a hearing on the proposal last month, Sanders said that “at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the Republicans apparently believe that the richest people in America need to be made even richer.”
The GOP’s plan would cut the Earned Income Tax Credit, affordable housing, Medicare, Head Start programs, and the Affordable Care Act, services that Sanders knows millions of Americans benefit from.
“The Republican budget plan is a massive transfer of wealth from people with very little to people who already have everything,” Sanders said in yesterday’s announcement. “It would throw 27 million Americans off of health insurance over the next 10 years, and make drastic cuts in … lifesaving programs that help millions of Americans.”
“Meanwhile the Republican budget would slash taxes for millionaires and billionaires by repealing the estate tax, and increase taxes on working families and the middle class,” Sanders continued. “Not only is the Republican budget immoral, it’s bad economic policy.”
These meetings, according to Sanders, are an opportunity to inform the public about the impact the cuts would have on average Americans. The meetings will be held on April 22 at the St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, DC; May 5 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall in Lanham, Maryland; and May 11 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A spokesman for the senator said that he will make a decision by the end of the month on whether he will enter the 2016 presidential race, an idea Sanders has been considering for quite some time.
“Bernie has been traveling around the country speaking before very large crowds and he’s been on the phone with a whole lot of people,” spokesman Michael Briggs said. “He is trying to ascertain whether or not there is the grassroots support – in terms of a national volunteer base and small-donor campaign contributors – to mount a successful campaign … That decision will be made in a few weeks, certainly by the end of the month.”
Now that Hillary Clinton has officially entered the race, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) continues to ignore cries for her to run next year, too, progressives need Bernie more than ever. Even if he doesn’t win the Democratic nomination, should he chose to not run as an Independent, he will force the other candidates to focus on issues that actually effect the majority of the country — not just the one percent.