Bernie Sanders

Read Bernie Sanders’ positions on all 11 planks of the Pledge Agenda.
Scroll down – or click a plank in the outline below to jump to specific positions.

I. Jobs for All – by Investing in Rebuilding America and a Green New Deal
1. Jobs for All – Created by Rebuilding America
2. Invest in a Green Economy
II. Fight Inequality
3. Empower Workers to Reduce Inequality
4. Opportunity and Justice for All – With Focus on Communities Harmed by Racism
5. Guarantee Women’s Economic Equality
III. A New Social Contract – for Income and Retirement Security – and Healthcare and Education for All

6. High Quality Public Education – Pre-K to University
7. Medicare for All – And Shared Economic Security
IV. Stop Corporations, Banks, and the Wealthy from Controlling Our Economy and Our Democracy
8. Make Corporations and the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share
9. Close Wall Street’s Casino
10. Rescue Democracy from Special Interests
V. A Global Strategy for Working Americans

11. A Global Strategy for Working Americans

I. Jobs for All – by Investing in Rebuilding America and a Green New Deal
1. Jobs for All – Created by Rebuilding America

  • In 2018, Bernie announced a plan for the federal government to guarantee a job paying $15 an hour and health-care benefits to every American worker “who wants or needs one,” embracing the kind of large-scale government works project that Democrats have shied away from in recent decades. Sanders’s jobs guarantee would fund hundreds of projects throughout the United States aimed at addressing priorities such as infrastructure, caregiving, the environment, education and other goals. Under the job guarantee, every American would be entitled to a job under one of these projects or receive job training to be able to do so. (New York Times, 02/19/19)
  • Sanders believes Congress should pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that will create 15 million good-paying jobs.  “Every day, Americans drive to work on potholed roads and crumbling bridges, and ride in overcrowded buses and subways. Children struggle to concentrate in overcrowded classrooms. Workers are unable to find affordable housing. The structures that most Americans don’t see are also in disrepair — from spotty broadband and an outdated electric grid, to toxic drinking water and dilapidated levees and dams. Congress should pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to address these needs while creating up to 15 million good-paying jobs in the process. (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)

2. Invest in a Green Economy

  • Greenpeace has given Bernie a B+ on climate change, putting him in 4th place in their ranking of the 2020 presidential candidate field. According to the NGO, “Sen. Sanders has championed bold climate action for years. In Congress, Sen. Sanders co-sponsored the “100 by ‘50 Act” and “Keep It In the Ground Act” to cut off federal support for coal, oil, and gas while ushering in 100% clean energy by 2050. He also introduced legislation to support coal workers and communities. Sen. Sanders co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution and has pledged to halt new federal fossil fuel projects if elected — but has yet to call for a full, managed phase-out of the fossil fuel industry. He also has yet to put forth a detailed plan to tackle the climate crisis. Keep it comin’, Sen. Sanders!” (Greenpeace)
  • A co-sponsor of the AOC-Merkley Green New Deal bill, Sanders is expected, in the next few months, to introduce his own Green New Deal proposal which will similarly “aim to slash emissions with an enormous public works program that would create tens of millions of jobs. The upcoming Sanders plan is expected to contain significantly more details about how a Green New Deal would move the nation’s economy to one that zeros out carbon emissions, according to aides to the senator, while the Ocasio-Cortez resolution supported by the other 2020 candidates mostly laid out ambitious targets for carbon reduction. (Washington Post, 02/19/19)
  • Sanders has repeatedly called climate change “the single greatest threat facing our planet,” and in 2016 campaigned on cutting carbon pollution by 40 percent by 2013, in part through an aggressive carbon tax on pollution.
    (Washington Post, 02/19/19)
  • Sanders has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, pledging not to accept any money from the oil, gas, or coal industries for his presidential campaign. (New Republic, 03/19/19)

II. Fight Inequality
3. Empower Workers to Reduce Inequality

  • Senator Sanders reintroduced legislation in 2019 calling for raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour (New York Times, 02/19/19), describing the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour a “starvation wage.” (CNBC, 02/19/19)
  • In 2018, Senator Sanders introduced the Bezos Act – which slammed Amazon’s worker compensation policies and culminated in the multinational raising its wages to $15 an hour for its more than 250,000 employees. Sanders has launched similar campaigns targeting Walmart and McDonalds.
    • “Walmart pays its employees so little that many of the low-wage workers must rely on food stamps to feed their families and Medicaid to pay doctors when their children get sick. Do you think the wealthiest family in this country should have large numbers of employees that depend on Medicaid?” (feelthebern.org)
  • Sanders has also co-sponsored legislation, titled the Paycheck Fairness Act, that would bar employers from retaliating against workers who ask about their wages, as well as making employers liable to civil litigation. (Washington Post, 02/19/19) (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)
  • We need elected officials and candidates at every level to get serious about forcefully speaking out for unions. It’s not good enough for candidates to say they like ‘workers’ or the ‘middle class.’ We need to specifically and explicitly support trade UNIONS…We need political leaders who don’t just say nice things about unions, and then sell out to corporate campaign contributors. We need political leaders who don’t just talk the talk, but who walk the walk—by standing with our union brothers and sisters on the picket lines, by standing with them in their organizing drives and by standing with them in their fight for economic justice.” (NH Labor News, 04/08/19)
  • Sanders has championed a workplace-democracy agenda, which, in his words, says that, “in America, workers have the constitutional right to organize. That’s called freedom of assembly…and therefore in [this] legislation, we outlaw the ability of states to pass and maintain right-to-work legislation.” (The Nation, 04/08/19)
  • On ex-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attacks on unions:  “These guys want to return us to the 1920s when working people had virtually no rights to organize or to earn a decent living….There are a lot of folks out there who say, ‘It doesn’t impact me, I’m not a union guy, I’m not a teacher, I’m not a civil servant.’ Let me tell you how it does matter to you. Wages are going down in this country for everybody. When you destroy unions there will be no standard at all, nobody left to negotiate decent jobs for the middle class.” (NH Labor News, 04/08/19)
  • My administration will make no apologies about it. We will be an administration for the working families of this country, not for the 1 percent. A Bernie Sanders administration will make it easier for workers to join unions, not harder. For the last 40 years in this country there has been a massive transfer of wealth that has gone from our working class to the very wealthiest people in this country. Well,” says the presidential contender, “together we’re going to end that.” (NH Labor News, 04/08/19)
  • “This year, as a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, he has supported critical strikes (such as the walkout by 1,700 members of United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America union locals at the sprawling Wabtec locomotive plant in Erie, Pennsylvania), appeared before mass rallies of workers as “not as a candidate for president but as somebody who has spent the last 40 years of his life walking the picket lines for unionized workers.” (The Nation, 04/08/19)

4. Opportunity and Justice for All – With a Focus on Communities Harmed by Racism

  • “The American people want to protect the young people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and to move toward comprehensive immigration reform for the more than 11 million people in our country who are undocumented. And that’s exactly what we should do.” (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)
  • “We must end the absurdity of the United States having more people in jail than any other country on Earth. We must invest in jobs and education for our young people, not more jails and incarceration.”  (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)
  • In July 2018, Sanders introduced legislation to end money bail outright. This would prevent people from being locked up before trial solely because they cannot afford their bail. (Sanders press release, 07/25/18)
  • Sanders has co-sponsored fellow 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker’s recently reintroduced Marijuana Justice Act to legalize Marijuana on a federal level.(Axios, 04/12/19)
  • “In 2007, Bernie co-sponsored a bill to reduce recidivism, allowing incarcerated offenders access to pharmacological drug treatment. Bernie later supported The Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014, which would have reformed federal mandatory sentencing guidelines for a variety of crimes, reduced the mandatory sentences of drug offenses, expanded the ability of nonviolent drug offenders to reduce sentences, and enabled federal prisoners to seek retroactive sentence adjustment under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.”
  • “The Senator advocates for police reform through increased transparency and accountability as well as the demilitarization of America’s law enforcement agencies He also wants to ”reform sentencing laws, including eliminating mandatory minimums for non-violent offenses and re-examine our drug policy in particular.”
    (feelthebern.org)

5. Guarantee Women’s Economic Equality

  • In 2013, In addition to emphasizing the policy in his 2016 campaign, Sanders has co-sponsored a bill to create the nation’s first universal paid family leave program. It would pay workers while they take time off if they have to take care of a sick child, parent or spouse; give birth to a child; or get sick themselves.
    (feelthebern.org)
  • “Iceland just became the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay men more than women. In the United States in 2016, black women made 62.5 cents on the dollar compared to white men and Hispanic women made 54.4 cents. That is a disgrace.” (Sanders, Twitter, 01/03/18)


III. A New Social Contract – for Income and Retirement Security – and Healthcare and Education for All

6. High Quality Public Education – Pre-K to University

  • ”In a highly competitive global economy, we must have the best-educated workers in the world. Every young person in America, regardless of income, must have the opportunity to receive the education they need to get a decent job and make it into the middle class. The House should pass the College for All Act to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and substantially reduce student debt.” (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)
  • In 2017, Sanders introduced a plan to make community college tuition-free and eliminate tuition at four-year universities for students from families with income of $125,000 or less. He has also pushed for more student loan forgiveness. (CNBC), 02/19/19
  • ”Sanders has also proposed cutting all student loan interest rates in half, and allowing Americans to refinance student loans at low interest rates.…The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said in 2016 that Sanders’s plan for free college would cost about $800 billion over 10 years. Sanders has proposed paying for it with a transaction tax on large Wall Street firms, which would raise $600 billion over a decade, CRFB found.”(Washington Post)
  • “In the richest country in the world, our teachers should be the best-paid, not among the worst-paid. We must invest in public education because our students and teachers deserve better.”(Sanders, Twitter, 02/11/19)

7. Medicare for All – And Shared Economic Security

  • Senator Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” bill widely supported in the Senate has a four-year phase-in period on the way to guaranteeing health care for every man, woman and child. Over the first year, it would lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55, cover dental, hearing and vision care for seniors, provide health care to every young person in the United States and lower the cost of prescription drugs.” (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)
  • “When 1 out of 5 seniors is trying to get by on less than $13,500 a year, we must expand Social Security so that every American can retire with dignity and security. The House should pass legislation to expand Social Security benefits and extend its solvency for the next 60 years by requiring that the wealthiest Americans — those making more than $250,000 a year — pay their fair share of Social Security taxes.” (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)
  • Americans pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs because, unlike other countries, the United States doesn’t directly regulate the price of medicine. The House should pass legislation to require Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices and allow patients, pharmacists and wholesalers to purchase low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. It should also pass legislation to make sure that Americans don’t pay more for prescription drugs than citizens do in other major countries. (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)

IV. Stop Corporations, Banks, and the Wealthy from Controlling Our Economy and Our Democracy
8. Make Corporations and the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share

  • ”At a time of massive and growing inequality in both income and wealth, Congress must pass legislation which requires wealthy people and large corporations to begin paying their fair share of taxes. It is unacceptable that there are large, extremely profitable corporations in this country that do not pay a nickel in federal income taxes.” (Sanders op-ed, Washington Post, 11/21/18)
  • Senator Sanders introduced a legislation in January 2019 that would increase the number of wealthy Americans subject to the Estate Tax. The proposed plan “would tax estates starting at $3.5 million, with a 77 percent rate on billionaire estates.”(CNBC)
  • “Our job is to support governments around the world that will end the absurdity of the rich and multinational corporations stashing over $21 trillion dollars in offshore bank accounts to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and then demanding that their respective governments impose an austerity agenda on their working families.”(Bernie in Speech at SAIS: Building a Global Democratic Movement to Counter Authoritarianism)

9. Close Wall Street’s Casino

  • In October, he introduced the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act,”a bill to cap the size of financial institutions, which would break up banks including J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Earlier this month, he unveiled a plan to restrict stock repurchases, which would put conditions on share buybacks. (CNBC, 02/19/19)
  • Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself gambling trillions of other people’s money on risky derivatives, acting illegally, and making huge profits, all the while assured that if their schemes fail the taxpayers will be there to bail them out. (ABC News, 10/04/18)
  • Sanders teamed up with Chuck Schumer to announce a plan to rein in corporate stock buybacks – legislation that would bar companies from buying back their own stock without meeting key pre-conditions, such as paying their workers at least a $15 minimum wage, providing at least seven days of paid sick leave, and offering “decent pensions and more reliable health benefits.” (Bernie in Speech at SAIS: Building a Global Democratic Movement to Counter Authoritarianism)

10. Rescue Democracy from Special Interests

  • Sanders supports automatic voter registration, granting voting rights to the formerly incarcerated, making Election Day a national holiday, and statehood for Washington DC (all in accordance with the rest of the Democratic candidates). He also supports Puerto Rico’s self-determination, and is open to voting age to 16. (Washington Post, 04/11/19)
  • Sanders is also open to eliminating the electoral college in favor of the popular vote and eliminating the Senate filibuster. He is against adding justices to “pack” the Supreme Court, and it is unclear where he stands on term limits for Supreme Court justices (Washington Post, 04/11/19)
  • Bernie co-sponsored a bill in November 2014 to make Election Day a federal holiday called Democracy Day. He wants to encourage voter turnout and increase the amount of people participating in the democratic process. Of this effort, he has stated: “In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote.”(feelthebern.org)
  • In June 2015, Bernie co-sponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The proposed bill seeks to expand the attorney general’s authority to request federal observers at polling stations and to establish a new geographic formula for deciding which states need federal permission to amend electoral laws. The bill proposes that the “preclear” is required only in states where there have been repeated voting rights violations in the previous 25 years. (feelthebern.org)
  • “We need to overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. We need to pass disclosure legislation. We need to move toward public funding of elections. We also have got to see an increased federal role in the outrageous gerrymandering that Republican states have created and end voter supression.”(Sanders 2016 Campaign)
  • Sanders has endorsed Instant Runoff Voting, as a more fair and democratic way to elect political leaders. (FairVote)

V. A Global Strategy for Working Americans
11. A Global Strategy for Working Americans

  • “Our job is to push for trade policies that don’t just benefit large multinational corporations and hurt working people throughout the world as they are written out of public view.”(Sanders press release, 11/30/19)
  • “As someone who not only voted against NAFTA, but walked on the picket lines against it, there is no question that this unfettered trade deal needs to be fundamentally rewritten. In my view, a re-negotiated NAFTA must stop the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, end the destructive race to the bottom, protect the environment, and lower the outrageously high price of prescription drugs. Clearly, Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 does not meet these standards and I will strongly oppose it in its current form. Unless strong enforcement mechanisms are written into the text of this agreement, corporations will continue to ship U.S. jobs to Mexico where workers are paid as little as $2 an hour….Further, this deal includes some outrageous giveaways to the fossil fuel industry and big pharmaceutical companies that will harm the environment and increase prices for life-saving prescription drugs. Before this deal is sent to Congress for a vote it must include strong enforcement mechanisms to increase jobs and wages and all of the riders that benefit big fossil fuel polluters and pharmaceutical companies must be taken out of it. Trade is a good thing – but it has got to be fair.” (Sanders press release, 11/30/19)
  • Sanders is one of eight lawmakers who has signed the pledge to end America’s “forever wars” – to work to bring ongoing U.S. global military conflicts to a “responsible and expedient” end.(The Intercept, 03/04/19)
  • Senator Sanders introduced the Senate Joint Resolution 54, calling on an end to America’s support for the “morally indefensible Saudi-led war” in Yemen. The bill’s passage represented the first time that Congress has successfully utilized the War Powers Act, reasserting that the constitutional authority to declare war rests solely with Congress, and not the president.(NPR, 12/12/18)
  • “According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, countries around the world spend a total of $1.7 trillion a year on the military. $1.7 trillion. Think of what we could accomplish if even a fraction of this amount were redirected to more peaceful ends? The head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has said we could end the global food crisis for $30 billion a year. That’s less than two percent of what we spend on weapons.” (Bernie SAIS speech, 10/09/18)
  • “We spend $700 billion a year on the military, more than the next 10 nations combined. We have been at war in Afghanistan for 17 years, war in Iraq for 15 years, and we are currently involved militarily in Yemen – where a humanitarian crisis is taking place. Meanwhile, 30 million people have no health insurance, our infrastructure is collapsing, and hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college every year. The time is long overdue for a vigorous discussion about our foreign policy, and how it needs to change in this new era.(Bernie SAIS speech, 10/09/18)
  • “We must look honestly at how that order has failed to deliver on many of its promises, and how authoritarians have adeptly exploited those failures in order to build support for their agenda. We must take the opportunity to re-conceptualize a global order based on human solidarity, an order that recognizes that every person on this planet shares a common humanity, that we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water, breathe clean air and to live in peace. Our job is to reach out to those in every corner of the world who shares these values, and who are fighting for a better world.” (Bernie SAIS speech, 10/09/18)
  • What distinguishes Sanders [on foreign policy] is the same quality that distinguished him on domestic policy in 2016: his willingness to cross red lines that have long defined the boundaries of acceptable opinion…He’s the only presidential candidate in recent memory who regularly describes the Cold War not as a heroic American victory, but as a cautionary tale. Sanders doesn’t just warn against U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, as Warren and Gillibrand have. He warns against it while invoking the United States’ “long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries.” In his speech at Westminster College in 2017, he spent paragraph after paragraph detailing America’s disastrous 20th-century interventions: Iran, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Vietnam—a litany that resembled a Noam Chomsky lecture more than a typical presidential candidate’s foreign-policy speech.”(The Atlantic)
  • “He called for putting the United Nations—which he called “one of the most important organizations for promoting a vision of a different world”—near the heart of American foreign policy.”(The Atlantic, 10/21/19)
  • “Foreign policy is not just tied into military affairs, it is directly connected to economics. Foreign policy must take into account the outrageous income and wealth inequality that exists globally and in our own country. This planet will not be secure or peaceful when so few have so much, and so many have so little – and when we advance day after day into an oligarchic form of society where a small number of extraordinarily powerful special interests exert enormous influence over the economic and political life of the world.” (Bernie speech, Westminster, 09/21/17)
  • In response to the crisis in Venezuela, Sanders tweeted, “…we must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups—as we have in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil & the DR. The US has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American nations; we must not go down that road again.” (Huffington Post, 01/30/19)
  • In his 2016 campaign, Sanders “accused China and Japan of steel dumping and currency manipulation and promised to impose countervailing tariffs on imports until the two countries stopped. After the Trump administration imposed tariffs affecting Canada and other allies, Sanders issued a June 1 statement criticizing those duties while supporting “stiff penalties on countries like China, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam to prevent them from illegally dumping steel and aluminum into the U.S. and throughout the world.” (Asian Review, 03/03/19)