Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Friday that coverage from the media can, in part, be attributed to Americans not being aware of what is actually in the Democrats' massive spending plan.
While Sanders acknowledged that many different factors play into why people do not know what is included in the spending plan, he said that the mainstream media "has done an exceptionally poor job in covering what actually is in the legislation."
"There have been endless stories about the politics of passing Build Back Better, the role of the president, the conflicts in the House and the Senate, the opposition of two senators, the size of the bill, etc. – but very limited coverage as to what the provisions of the bill are and the crises for working people that they address," Sanders said in a statement.
"The foundations of American democracy are threatened not only by extremism, but by ignorance and lack of knowledge," he continued. "It is hard to ask people to have faith in their government when they have little understanding of what their government is trying to do. Build Back Better is an enormously important piece of legislation. The American people have a right to know what’s in it. My hope is that mainstream media will fulfill their responsibilities and make that happen."
Democrats are struggling to get the votes needed to pass the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill as Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) have said they would not support it at its current price tag. And in a 50-50 split in the Senate, all Democrats need to vote in favor of the bill for it to pass.
The spending bill is being pushed by Democrats to carry out some of their biggest priorities, such as the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, new child care and education benefits, combatting climate change and making drastic changes to the tax code. The details of the bill are still being discussed as Democrats negotiate with Sinema and Manchin on the price of the legislation.
A CBS News poll released this week showed that only 10 percent of Americans knew a lot about the details of the bill while 57 percent said they did not know any specifics about the multitrillion-dollar proposal.
The poll found that the potential cost of the bill was at the top of the list of what Americans knew about the bill, with 59 percent of respondents indicating that they had heard about the $3.5 trillion price tag.
Sanders' comments come after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters Tuesday that "I think you all could do a better job of selling" the legislation.