Even Bernie Sanders is now freely admitting that the "art of the possible" is what Actual President Joe Manchin and Actual Vice President Kyrsten Sinema will allow America to have.
In order for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and larger social spending package to pass, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Sunday the $3.5 trillion budget resolution price tag will likely be lowered.
"Three and a half trillion should be a minimum, but I accept that there's gonna have to be a give and take," Sanders told ABC "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
House progressives have warned leadership they will not vote on President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill until the larger human infrastructure bill is also ready for a vote. The budget resolution calls for investments in climate change policy, child care and other social programs, and is wider in scope than the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes measures to improve the nation’s physical infrastructure.
"Both these bills are going forward in tandem," Sanders said, reiterating the progressive call to hold out on passing infrastructure until the social spending bill is also passed.
Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have said they will not support the bill’s $3.5 trillion price tag. Due to the slim Democratic majority in the Senate, neither bill will pass unless they have all the votes of the Democrats.
Sinema released a statement Saturday accusing progressives of "an ineffective stunt" and slammed House Democratic leadership for failing to pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
"Denying Americans millions of good-paying jobs, safer roads, cleaner water, more reliable electricity and better broadband only hurts everyday families," Sinema wrote.
Asked by Karl to respond to her statement, Sanders said he thinks Sinema is "wrong" and said both bills must go forward together, adding that he voted for the infrastructure bill.
"We're not just taking on or dealing with Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema, we're taking on the entire ruling class of the country," Sanders responded. "Right now the drug companies, the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry are spending hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent us from doing what the American people want."
"This really is a test on whether democracy can work," Sanders said. "I hope very much and I expect that the Democratic caucus and the president -- I know he will -- stand firm."
Sanders is, for once, 100% correct. The corporations that have purchased President Manchin and Vice President Sinema's votes bought them cheaply compared to the taxes they'll be forced to pay, maybe half a mil in lobbyist donations for something that will save them billions over the next decade.
The only question is how much Manchin and Sinema get to take off the top. The rest of us get to watch the super rich continue to play the game and win.
A massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and — in 14 cases involving current country leaders — citizens around the world.
The revelations include more than $100 million spent by King Abdullah II of Jordan on luxury homes in Malibu, Calif., and other locations; millions of dollars in property and cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries; and a waterfront home in Monaco acquired by a Russian woman who gained considerable wealth after she reportedly had a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Other disclosures hit closer to home for U.S. officials and other Western leaders who frequently condemn smaller countries whose permissive banking systems have been exploited for decades by looters of assets and launderers of dirty money.
Read key takeaways from the Pandora Papers investigation
The files provide substantial new evidence, for example, that South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy. Tens of millions of dollars from outside the United States are now sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of it tied to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing.
The details are contained in more than 11.9 million financial records that were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and examined by The Post and other partner news organizations. The files include private emails, secret spreadsheets, clandestine contracts and other records that unlock otherwise impenetrable financial schemes and identify the individuals behind them.
The trove, dubbed the Pandora Papers, exceeds the dimensions of the leak that was at the center of the Panama Papers investigation five years ago. That data was drawn from a single law firm, but the new material encompasses records from 14 separate financial-services entities operating in countries and territories including Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Belize and the British Virgin Islands.
The files detail more than 29,000 offshore accounts, more than double the number identified in the Panama Papers. Among the account owners are more than 130 people listed as billionaires by Forbes magazine and more than 330 public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, twice the number found in the Panama documents.
In the end, the rich win.