by Luke Rosiak
Senate Democrats have made Sen. Bernie Sanders their ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on the Budget.
When he was running against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, a Tax Policy Center analysis found Sanders’ proposals would add $21 trillion to the debt if fully enacted.
The New York Times ran the headline: “Left-Leaning Economists Question Cost of Bernie Sanders’s Plans.” Clinton faulted Sanders for wanting to increase government spending 40 percent. Other critics said 40 percent understated the actual cost of his proposals.
The decision of the Senate Democratic Caucus illustrates the significance of Republicans maintaining control of the upper chamber in Congress. If Democrats had gained a Senate majority, it’s possible Sanders would have headed the budget panel.
Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi is the current chairman of the committee.
Sanders’ appointment on the budget panel comes on the heels of President-elect Donald Trumps victory, and a Democratic failure to regain majorities in either the Senate or the House.
Sanders was also named “chair of outreach,” while Sen. Elizabeth Warren was named vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference. Warren is a Massachusetts Democrat who is close to Sanders ideologically.