Sanders sees battle for America’s soul playing out in Congress

Sanders had harsh words for Republicans, whom he described as “bought and paid for,” as well as lobbying interests battling the progressive priorities built into the $3.5 trillion bill.

“Poll after poll shows what we are doing is exactly what the American people want. It’s not what the big money interest wants, not what the lobbyists want. It’s what the American people want, and we got to do it,” Sanders said.

The Vermont senator also said he understood that “some give and take“ on the legislation was likely, and that he agreed with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) — one of the leading critics of Democratic spending plans — that it all should be paid for.

“I want it to be paid for, and, in fact, that is exactly what we are going to do, and if it’s $3.5 trillion, we can pay for it because as everybody knows, you got some of the wealthiest people in this country who in a given year don’t pay a penny in federal income tax. Large corporations don’t pay a nickel in federal income tax. So, if Manchin wants to pay for it, I’m there,” he said.