- Last week, Biden leaned towards scaling down the spending package to between $1.75-$1.9 trillion.
- On Thursday, he said it was a “reach” that expansion to medicare would be a part of the bill.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders said Saturday the Medicare expansion is “not coming out” of the bill.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said a Medicare expansion of dental, vision, and hearing coverage will remain a part of the spending package, contradicting remarks made by President Joe Biden earlier this week.
“The expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and vision is one of the most popular and important provisions in the entire reconciliation bill. It’s what the American people want. It’s not coming out,” Sanders said in a tweet Saturday.
-Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 24, 2021
Earlier this week, Biden leaned towards scaling down the initial $3.5 trillion spending package to between $1.75-$1.9 trillion.
During a CNN Town Hall Thursday, Biden said it would be a “reach” for the Medicare expansion to be included in the spending bill.
“And the reason why it’s a reach – it’s not – I think it’s a good idea, and it’s not that costly in relative terms, especially if we allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices,” Biden said. “But here’s the thing: Mr. Manchin is – is opposed to that, as is – I think Senator Sinema is as well.”
Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, both moderate Democrats, have spent months trying to reduce the price of the spending bill. Sanders has grown frustrated with the pace of negotiations as well as Manchin and Sinema’s opposition to key parts of the bill, NPR reported.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester told Axios Friday that he witnessed Manchin tell Sanders he was comfortable spending nothing on the bill when the two met to talk over disagreements.
The Hill reported that Sanders is frustrated that Sinema is opposed to allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.
“It is beyond comprehension that there is any member of the United States Congress who is not prepared to vote to make sure that we lower prescription drug costs,” Sanders told reporters Thursday, The Hill reported.
The White House, Manchin, and Sinema did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.
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