The White House and congressional leaders
continued to negotiate a broad deficit reduction agreement as a
year-end deadline neared. As the incoming chairman of the Senate
Veterans' Affairs Committee, Bernie held a news conference flanked by 20 of
the nation's leading veterans' organizations including The
American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans
and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Bernie's
message was clear: "Do not balance the budget on the backs of
disabled veterans who have lost their arms, their legs and their eyesight
defending our country." Bernie was responding to news reports that
President Obama was acceding to Republican requests to cut Social
Security and benefits for disabled veterans. Bernie has helped lead the
fight against that terrible proposal. He drove home the point minutes
later in a television interview citing broad public opposition to cuts in
Social Security and Medicare and overwhelming support for raising
taxes on the wealthiest Americans. "The American people are saying
let's do deficit reduction, but do it in a way that is fair,"
Bernie told Thomas Roberts.
Watch the news conference -
Watch the Thomas Roberts interview -
Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus, can pay all benefits owed to all eligible Americans for the next 21 years and, because it is funded independently, has not contributed one penny to the deficit. Bernie agrees with AARP, the National Coalition to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and virtually all seniors' organizations that Social Security should not be part of the deficit reduction negotiations. Bernie opposes the so-called chained CPI, which would lower benefits for the typical Social Security recipient who retires at age 65 by $653 a year at age 75 and by $1,139 a year at age 85. Bernie will vigorously oppose Republicans and President Obama and anyone else who wants to balance the budget on the backs of seniors.
Listen to the speech -
Watch the Ed Schultz interview -
Listen to an NPR report -
Sign Bernie's petition -
December 17, 2012
"Newtown, Conn., and our entire country have experienced an unspeakable and unimaginable tragedy. As President Obama has stated we, as a nation, must do everything we can to put an end to the epidemic of mass killings that we have seen in recent years," Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Monday.
"No knowledgeable person believes that there is one easy, 15-second-soundbite answer to this crisis. We need a comprehensive approach in which a number of issues must be seriously addressed. Among those issues are:
"First, we have to tone down the incredibly high level of violence which permeates our media culture and which desensitizes children and others to the killing of human beings.
"Second, we must greatly expand and improve our mental health capabilities so that individuals and families in need of psychological help can find that help when they need it. Incredibly, there are major proposals before Congress right now which would substantially cut back on the availability of that help -- making a bad situation much worse.
"Third, while well over 99 percent of gun owners are law-abiding citizens who use their weapons legally and responsibly, there are clearly some who do not. In that regard, we must make certain that highly destructive weapons do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them."