Democrats in Congress are not terribly anxious to play ball with Sen. Bernie Sanders over his jobs for all bill, the Washington Examiner reports. The Vermont senator is proposing a massive federal program that would provide work to anyone wanting it but Sanders’ natural Democratic allies are wondering what the price tag would be.
And Sanders isn’t offering any specifics.
“I’m anxious for Bernie to show me how it’s going to be done,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said. “He’s had some good ideas, but sometimes when it gets down to the actual cost of the idea, they need to be worked on a little bit.”
Durbin insists that “making sure that people who want to work get a chance to work is fundamental,” and that he doesn’t “disagree with his conclusion” but that’s as far as he’s prepared to go with oral support.
A Washington Post report makes the Sanders jobs plan sound like a plank from President Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal legislation, with infrastructure projects blooming across the U.S. with $15 jobs and health insurance available upon request.
Senate Democrats surveyed by the Examiner all questioned the dubious financing of such a plan. “I don’t know how he has in mind to pay for it,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal observed. “I really would like to see the details. I’ve seen some headlines, but I haven’t seen a summary even.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued some highly-qualified support, but said he hasn’t even looked at the bill yet.
Democratic vacillation hasn’t stopped the Republicans from suggesting the Democratic opposition has been taken captive by socialist Sanders.
That might make for an interesting midterm election experience for some Democrats in conservative constituencies.
“If you’re a red-state Democrat, you’ve got to defend why a mass federal expenditure on a basic government takeover of the employment sector is appropriate,” Republican Sen. Cory Gardner noted.
It’s also easy to point out that Sanders’ job scheme would amount to another round of massive deficit spending.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn notes that Sanders is quick to gripe about the GOP tax bill adding to the national debt but apparently has no problem advancing a program that the Texas senator calls “prohibitively expensive.”