Washington DC – July 17, 2023
Senator Bernie Sanders held a press conference to discuss his recent meeting with President Joe Biden, addressing various topics including union organizing, corporate misconduct, wage inflation, media monopolies, and other pressing issues.
During the conference, Sanders shared some positive news, stating that there is a “very good news” regarding an increase in union organizing and unions demanding decent contracts. He cited the ongoing developments between UPS and the Teamsters as an example. Sanders emphasized the importance of unions standing up for workers’ rights and striving to improve working conditions that have been less than satisfactory.
However, Sanders also highlighted a concerning trend of anti-union illegal activity perpetrated by corporations. He described this as “bad news” and expressed his concerns about the unprecedented level of corporate misconduct against unions.
Responding to questions from reporters, Sanders addressed wage inflation and its causes. He emphasized that workers’ wages are not the primary drivers of inflation, but rather the result of extraordinary corporate greed. Sanders pointed out that raising prices for consumers contributes to inflation, while workers continue to struggle with low wages.
When asked about his stance on breaking up media monopolies, Sanders affirmed his support for such actions. He expressed concerns about the increasing concentration of ownership in various sectors of American society and the need to address it.
Regarding President Biden’s inclination to follow through on breaking up media monopolies, Sanders redirected the question to the President himself, suggesting reporters reach out to him for more information.
Sanders clarified that his discussion with President Biden did not cover the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director. Instead, they focused on the recent floods in Vermont, addressing the immediate concerns of the state.
Biden has been without a permanent director for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a year and a half, raising concerns about delays in key appointments. Senator Sanders, who chairs the Senate committee responsible for vetting NIH director candidates, recently expressed frustration with the administration’s response to his call for unilateral actions to lower drug prices. In a June interview with The Washington Post, Sanders vowed to oppose all health nominees until the White House met his demands.
The administration’s nomination of Monica Bertagnolli, a renowned cancer surgeon, to lead the NIH appeared to be a strategic move to address multiple considerations. Biden’s personal preference for an NIH chief with an oncology background was fulfilled with Bertagnolli’s selection. However, Sanders’ ongoing pressure for substantial reductions in drug prices has caused tensions and potential delays in confirming health nominees, including Bertagnolli’s candidacy.
While the topic of the writers’ and actors’ strike did not dominate their conversation, Sanders acknowledged that it may have come up during their meeting, indicating that it is a significant issue that he is aware of.
Lastly, Sanders expressed his admiration for Rev. Jesse Jackson, describing him as a true American hero, although he did not provide further details or context.
The meeting between Senator Bernie Sanders and President Joe Biden touched on a range of critical issues, highlighting the Senator’s commitment to workers’ rights, combatting corporate misconduct, and supporting measures to address media monopolies.