Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement on Friday, Oct. 11, on the 11-day-old government shutdown and the debt ceiling:
"The Republicans must stop holding the American people hostage. Speaker Boehner must allow the House to vote so that they reopen the government and pay our bills. Frankly, given the enormous problems facing this country, it is beyond belief that we have wasted weeks debating whether, for the first time in our history, the largest economy in the world should default and plunge the world into a severe financial crisis.
"Yesterday, the Republicans were using the Affordable Care Act as the reason why they had to shut down the government and not pay our bills. Today, it's 'reforming' Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What will it be tomorrow?
"Social Security, which is independently funded through the payroll tax, has nothing to do with the deficit. The deficit -- which has been cut in half since 2009 -- was significantly caused by the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and the Wall Street-induced recession, which led to a significant decline in federal revenue.
"The Republican Party and Paul Ryan cannot be allowed to get their way by threatening the American people with a continued government shutdown and a default unless Congress cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That is not what the American people want. Rather, we should be passing legislation which rebuilds our infrastructure and creates millions of new jobs, address the crisis of low wage employment by raising the minimum wage, make college affordable and fight for equal pay for equal work."