To the chagrin of Republicans, the democratic socialist senator will play a central role in shepherding Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s agenda through Congress.
“Sanders, the next chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, plans to take a hard look at fraud at the defense budget in his new perch, he tells POLITICO
“You understand you’re talking to the guy who led the effort to lower defense spending by 10 percent,” the Vermont Independent and self-described Democratic Socialist boasted.
You’re talking about the military budget, which is now higher than the next 10 nations combined,” he continued. “You’re talking about the Pentagon budget, which is the only major government agency which has not been able to undertake an independent audit. And I don’t think anyone has any doubt that there’s massive waste and cost overruns in the military budget.”
“I think if you check the record,” he added, “you’ll find that every major defense contractor has been found guilty of collusion and fraud.”
Shortly before the 2016 election, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican nominee for vice president and the speaker of the House, told a group of college Republicans why he thought Democrats winning control of the Senate would be a policy nightmare.
“Do you know who becomes chair of the Senate Budget Committee?” Mr. Ryan asked. “A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?”
Republicans have long feared the prospect of Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist from Vermont, taking the helm of the powerful committee given his embrace of bigger government and more federal spending with borrowed money. With Democrats reclaiming the Senate, that fear is about to become a reality. Mr. Sanders, the most progressive member of the chamber, will have a central role in shaping and steering the Democrats’ tax and spending plans through a Congress that they control with the slimmest of margins.