At 11:21 AM, EST, Senator Chris Murphy began what would end up being a 15-hour filibuster on the House floor. Senator Murphy was joined by 38 of his fellow senators, including Tammy Baldwin, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Tim Kaine, Richard Blumenthal, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, and many others. Missing from the filibuster was Bernie Sanders. According to Senator Sanders’ spokesman, Michael Briggs, the timing “just didn’t work,” and “We’re keeping an eye on votes next week.” From The Washington Post:
But Sanders’s physical absence was noticed on social media, and a bit of a departure from his approach to the Senate. In 2010, the senator waged a one-man filibuster against a compromise that allowed most of the Bush-era tax cuts to continue. It did not delay the vote on that compromise, but it captured liberal attention and raised Sanders’s profile, with the text of the speech soon collected into a book.
Six years later, Sanders is a major national figure, flanked by Secret Service protection for as long as he wants it. It’s up to him — and eventually, delegates to the Democratic National Convention — when he’ll resume the usual work of the Senate. The Murphy filibuster, which quickly turned into a rallying moment for progressives, came at the wrong time.
Senator Bernie Sanders was not too busy on June 15 to Tweet his latest endorsements:
No president can do it alone. That’s why I’m endorsing progressives Rep. @RepMarcyKaptur and Rep. @ricknolanmn.
Included in the Tweet was a link to Act Blue, so Sanders supporters could donate money to Marcy Kaptur and Rick Nolan.
Sanders’s endorsement of Marcy Kaptur is a bit alarming, given her stance on abortion. According to OnTheIssues.org, Rep. Kaptur voted yes on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion, voted no on expanding stem cell research, voted no on embryonic stem cell research in general, and received a rating of 30% by NARAL. In comparison, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has drawn anger and threats from many Sanders supporters for her endorsement of Hillary Clinton, receives a rating of 100% from NARAL. NARAL also endorsed Senator Warren in 2012. NARAL has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, citing her 100% voting record on issues of reproductive rights.
Why would Bernie Sanders endorse an anti-abortion candidate like Marcy Kaptur? In an email to his supporters, Sanders writes Kaptur is “a leading voice to adopt fair trade policies which not only raise wages in this country, but lift living standards throughout the world.” He also writes “She has been fighting for a fair trade policy from the day she came to Congress.” Marcy Kaptur is, much like Bernie Sanders, laser-focused on wealth inequality. This is a good thing, by the way; poverty is an important issue, and one we as a society need to address. It would seem, though, that Bernie Sanders is ignoring Rep Kaptur’s rather horrible voting record on reproductive rights and medical advancement.
Senator Sanders could not make time to participate in Senator Murphy’s filibuster for sane gun legislation, and he endorsed an anti-abortion candidate. But he’s the progressive one.