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Sanders: Congress Has a New Mandate to Protect Working Families

BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 7 –U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), re-elected with 71 percent of the vote, said right-wing extremism suffered a major defeat in yesterday’s election.

Despite dozens of billionaires spending unprecedented sums of money trying to defeat President Barack Obama and progressive candidates around the country, Obama won a strong victory and Democrats, forced to defend 23 seats in the Senate, appear to have picked up two more seats, a result very few predicted.

Sanders urged the president to embark on a nationwide campaign to challenge right-wing Republicans in the home states of members of Congress who are out of sync with mainstream majorities on issues ranging from Social Security to tax breaks for millionaires to global warming.

“My sincere hope is that the Republican Party now understands that the American people do not want a government pushing right-wing extremist policies. They want a government that addresses the needs of working families, the elderly, the children and the sick, and not just the wealthiest people in this country,” Sanders said.

“Poll after poll shows that the American people do not want to see cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. As part of deficit reduction, they want the wealthiest people and largest corporations in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes. They want to end an absurd tax policy that enables the wealthy and large corporations to stash trillions in tax havens in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, costing the U.S. Treasury more than $100 billion a year.

“Poll after poll shows that the American people are increasingly concerned about the growing income and wealth inequality in America. At a time when the top 1 percent owns 42 percent of the wealth of the country, while the bottom sixty percent owns 2.3 percent, the American people want that enormously important issue addressed.

“Poll after poll shows that the American people do not believe, as Republican leaders do, that global warming is a ‘hoax.’  On the contrary, they want this country’s energy system to move aggressively toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

“Poll after poll shows that the American people believe that we must invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and, by doing that, create millions of good paying jobs.

“Poll after poll shows that the American people strongly disagree with those Republicans who want to cut spending on education. Quite the contrary! The American people want to make college more affordable for struggling working families and their kids.

“My strong hope is that, on behalf of the American people, President Obama forcefully challenges the right-wing extremist agenda. My hope is that he visits states around the country where House and Senate members are defending the interests of billionaires at the expense of working families, and asks those Americans to demand that their members of Congress represent them – and not powerful special interests,” Sanders concluded.

Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141


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