Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) signaled on Sunday night that he’s willing to rally in West Virginia for a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, and other progressive initiatives to put the squeeze on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a conservative Democrat who stands to be a major roadblock to those priorities.
“I have no problem with going to West Virginia, and I think we need a grassroots movement that makes it clear to Joe Manchin and everybody else in the United States Senate, including Republicans, that the progressive agenda is what the American people want,” Sanders told MSNBC.
The Vermont senator acknowledged that though he and other progressives “can’t get everything we want,” they will push their platform “as hard as we possibly can.”
Additionally, “there is a lot of work being done internally in terms of bringing the Democratic caucus together,” according to Sanders.
Manchin’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
With only a razor-thin majority of 50-50 plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, Senate Democrats cannot afford a single defection in order to enact their agenda through budget reconciliation, the only way legislation can pass in the Senate through a simple majority since the filibuster requires 60 votes on virtually everything else.
Besides speaking out against increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and other top progressive goals, Manchin is a staunch opponent of blowing up the filibuster and has insisted that Democrats ought to seek unlikely support for their proposed legislation from Republicans.
Watch Sanders below:
Sanders says he has "no problem with going to West Virginia" to pressure Manchin on progressive agenda. pic.twitter.com/BwedKV9hJX
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) April 5, 2021