Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont held public events in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia over the weekend to protest the Republicans' Senate health care bill released June 22.
The bill, presented by GOP Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, contains cuts to Medicare and would remove millions of people from health insurance,the Washington Post reported.
Sanders delivered a stark message at each public meeting, arguing that removing health insurance from so many people would result in thousands of deaths.
"You have to do your best to tell the truth, but at the same time you have to make it clear that violence of any kind is unacceptable," Sanders told the Post. "It's not me who's saying people are dying. They will. That's just a fact. You have Harvard University making that statement. And it's common sense -- of course people are going to die. It doesn't give me any pleasure to say that Trump is a pathological liar. It's just the truth. I've never called any other politicians pathological liars."
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The states where Sanders toured voted for Trump in the November 2016 presidential election.
The Vermont senator stated that the Democrats' defeat in the recent special elections showed the party had to be more radical, including by campaigning for a single-payer health care system.
"I don't know why we don't have the stones to do the same thing Republicans do when we're the ones taking the moral position," John Fetterman, a Sanders supporter, added. "Health care is a right. If Republicans can get behind something that's at 16 percent support, what are we doing when we spend $35 million on a losing guy in Georgia who was afraid to run on single payer and was afraid to make the super-rich pay enough in taxes? You run on what's right."
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Sanders made clear his opinion of the Republicans' health care bill and called on Democrats to delay its passage until after July 4.
"My sense is that the Republicans understand that this bill is a disaster," added Sanders. "You can't throw 23 million people off health insurance, give tax breaks to millionaires and not know it's a disaster. But I think what they believe is that with the Koch brothers, and with unlimited amounts of money, they will be able to survive. What Citizens United has done is change the dynamics of American politics so that anybody who runs against any of these incumbents will see massive amounts of personal attacks from Day One."
Some Republicans have begun expressing doubts about the legislation. The post reported that five have already said they are opposed to the bill, which can only afford to lose two votes if it is to pass.
McConnell's allies are concerned that lengthening the debate could result in other Republicans turning against the bill.
"It's not going to get any easier," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told the Post. "And, yes, I think August is the drop deadline, about August 1."