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MSNBC "The Ed Show" Transcript

Interview

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For more, let`s turn to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for his
reaction. Senator, good to have you with us tonight. I`ve got to ask you,
if the talking filibuster isn`t in it, if the 41 rule isn`t in it, where is
the teeth in this filibuster reform that might happen? Your thoughts, sir.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: There won`t be much in the way of
teeth. What you`ll see is some improved efficiencies. The Senate will
move a little bit faster. But, in essence, what Tom Harkin said is
absolutely right. What we have seen is an unparalleled level of
obstructionism, time after time, when we`re trying to create jobs, trying
to deal with global warming, trying to deal with income inequality.
They throw 60 vote, 60 votes, 60 votes. If we don`t have the talking
filibuster, if we don`t have 41 votes having to maintain the filibuster,
then we`re simply not going to be able to address the serious problems
facing the American people.

SCHULTZ: So does this mean, in your opinion, that the 113th could be
a lot like the 112th, if the minority party decides to act like that?

SANDERS: It won`t be as bad. I think there will be some improvements
in the ability to move things along in an expeditious manner. We have two
more votes. But at the end of the day, Ed, on any serious issue facing
working families, facing global warming, we do not have 60 votes. So the
will of the American people will not be carried out.
This country has enormous problems. And it distresses me every single
day that while we may have the majority, over 50 votes -- we have 55 votes.
We still can`t do what the American people want us to do.

SCHULTZ: Well, I`ve quoted you often, Senator Sanders. Another quote
from Tom Harkin today on my radio show, he said he`s tired of the Senate
being held hostage by the dead hand of the past. There are just some
senators in the Democratic caucus that simply don`t want to change this
rule.
And the dead hand of the past was rules set up by previous Senate
chambers. How frustrating is this going to be? Doesn`t the country
deserve to move forward on legislation? Because we all know what the
Republicans would do if they were in this position.

SANDERS: Ed, I think you`re absolutely right. Look, in politics,
sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. We all know that. But right
now, one senator could have a staff member call up the cloakroom and say
hey, put a hold on that bill. We`re not going to go forward to even debate
that legislation unless we get 60 votes.
So what ends up happening is not only can`t we pass the legislation we
want, we can`t even have the debate for the American people to understand
who is on which side. So to me, yeah, I share Harkin`s views. I am tired
of it. I don`t mind losing. Sometimes you`re not going to get 50 votes.
But I am damn tired of seeing us not even being able to go forward on a
debate on issues of enormous concern to this country.

SCHULTZ: What is Harry Reid afraid of, if your opinion? What is it?

SANDERS: I can`t speak -- I really can`t speak for Reid. And I don`t
know. I think the bottom line is I suspect that he believes that we do not
have the 51 votes that we`ll need for the Constitutional option. What many
of us believe on the first day, and we`ve extended that -- it is still the
first day -- that we can write new rules, that with 51 votes, we can say
that we can have a talking filibuster. If you want to oppose a bill, if
you want 60 votes, you get on the floor and you keep talking.
But when you stop talking, we`re going to go to 51 votes and we`re
going to pass it.

SCHULTZ: Senator Bernie Sanders with us tonight. Thanks so much for
joining us, senator. I would like to know who those senators are that
don`t want to go along with it. We`ll do that story tomorrow.

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