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What Can Sanders Do as Budget Chair? – Rob Johnson

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What Can Sanders Do as Budget Chair? – Rob Johnson


Yves here. We’re oddly in the midst of a Sanders boomlet. One possible reason is that Sanders is an anti-politician who has no interest in currying favor. Efforts to elicit Bidengasms as the right response to the end of Trump rule by histrionics, scape-goating, and flip flop are enough to put anyone in a “pox on both your houses” mood.

But Sanders is about to be able to throw his weight around as the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee. Rob Johnson, who many years ago was the Senior Economist to the Senate Budget Committee, explains how its leader can wield influence, not just during the final phases of negotiating a budget, but also via holding hearings.

One topic was whether Sanders could advance single payer or Medicare for All. With Biden saying he’s against them, which also means he’d have party leaders whip against any bill in the House and Senate, I don’t see how a vote is productive. It would garner a loss by a wide margin and allow opponents to falsely claim its failure was due to opposition by voters, as opposed to moneyed interests.

By contrast, well-designed hearing exposing the many flavors of medical industrial complex grifting could force the Dems to get behind, or at least not oppose, targeted but still important reforms. Top of my list would be ending balance billing, aka surprise billing, a major grifting strategy amped up to a new level by private equity.

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