The process to pass landmark tax reform legislation "has been just a disaster," as the American public does not understand what all it involves, Sen. Bernie Sanders complained Thursday.
"Are you suggesting that a bill that impacts the entire economy, virtually every American, should be read before people vote upon it?" the Vermont independent and former presidential candidate told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.
The bill was discussed and determined "around back doors," Sanders continued. "Some 5,000 lobbyists have participated in it, but the American public does not know what's in it. Bottom line, and I think some of the Republicans have been honest enough about acknowledging this, this is a gift for Republican wealthy campaign contributors."
In the Senate bill, he continued, "at least 72 percent" of the cuts will go the "top one-tenth of one percent."
"At the end of 10 years, 83 million middle class families will be paying more in taxes," said Sanders. "This means 32 million people will lose their health insurance. Premiums will go up by 10 percent with people in the individual market. This is going to exacerbate incoming wealth at a time when we have to protect the middle class and working families."
There are some elements, he conceded, that will benefit the middle class taxpayers, and those must be made permanent, but that is not what Republicans want to do.
"The richest people in this country who are doing phenomenally, they do not need huge tax cuts that drive up the deficit to $1.4 trillion and then leads Donald Trump and Paul Ryan to say, 'well, we have this huge deficit. We'll have to cut Medicare and Medicaid,'" Sanders said.
The senator recalled that during the election, President Donald Trump promised not to cut program like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
"I say to the president, keep your promise," said Sanders. "Do not cut Medicare and Medicaid. If you want something that benefits the middle class, you've got allies here. But we do not need the wealthy to drive up the deficit."
Sanders also sounded off against the FCC's vote to end net neutrality provisions, saying it's "almost unspeakable" to speak about what a disaster the ruling will create.
"The internet has been a real effort to enhance democracy and level the playing field in this country," he said. "It means that if you are a small business person right now, you were a start-up company, you can use the internet to get the word out about why people should come to your business. You can have the same opportunities on the internet as Walmart does, or as a large corporation ... they're going to do away with that and it's going to be much more expensive for the little guy to play and compete against the big corporations."
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