What are our nation’s independent Senators up to?

Believe it or not, there are two independents in the United States Senate.  One is Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats and is closely associated with the Progressive Party of Vermont.  Although he is closely associated with two parties, he is a member of neither and is a bona fide independent.  The other independent is “Independent Democrat” Joe Lieberman, who lost the Democratic primary for his seat in 2006 and founded the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, on whose ballot line he won.  Now he caucuses with the Democrats, but not without controversy.  The following are a few recent news items on both of them:

  • Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation to put a cap on credit card interest rates.  The top rate would be 15 percent.  Among other things, he said, “At the same time that the large financial institutions are getting almost zero interest loans from the Fed, these large Wall Street firms and credit card companies are charging the American people 15, 20, 30 percent interest rates on their cards.”
  • Sanders has called the b0nuses from AIG “morally reprehensible” and “outrageous.”  In addition, on Friday Night’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher he said that they are “symbolic” of a greater greed that has taken over the American financial system.
  • The Burlington Free Press is reporting that Bernie Sanders has gotten more than $36,000,000 in earmarks for Vermont.  The earmarks are going toward everything from promoting solar energy to renovating a community center.
  • Joe Lieberman and Senator Gregg of New Hampshire have introduced a bill that would allow Senators to vote individually on earmarks.
  • Lieberman has joined a group of “moderate Democrats” that are attempting to stop the Senate from passing legislation on issues like climate change and to encourage “fiscal responsibility.”  It is headed by Evan Bayh of Indiana.

11 thoughts on “What are our nation’s independent Senators up to?

  1. Kimberly Wilder

    Ewwww! It’s kind of creepy to put Bernie Sanders in the same sentence with Joe Lieberman.

    😉

    But, great article, Ross.

    Definitely something IPR should do. Mention what independent elected officials are up to.

  2. Fred Church Ortiz

    I think Sanders is or was affiliated with one of the formal Socialist parties too.

  3. Trent Hill

    “Connecticut for Lieberman Party”

    Which is now controlled by the enemies of Lieberman, who claim he was never actually a registered member. This could come back to hurt Lieberman,actually.

  4. Trent Hill

    “I think Sanders is or was affiliated with one of the formal Socialist parties too.”

    The Liberty Union Party–but he left that party to join the Progressives, then left the Progressives to become an indepedent.

  5. Fred Church Ortiz

    The Liberty Union Party–but he left that party to join the Progressives, then left the Progressives to become an indepedent.

    I was thinking SP or DSA, but I guess the LUP might have been part of the former at the time.

  6. Trent Hill

    “I thought he was never actually a member of the Progressive Party, just helped found it.”

    You could be write–but thats fairly inconsequential to me, if you helped to found a party, you are a member.

  7. Ross Levin Post author

    He’s been criticized around here for caucusing with the Democrats and getting their endorsement in his Senate race, but I think that he’s really an independent, and one of the most successful independents in the country.

  8. Trent Hill

    Ross,

    I dont criticize him (at least, not regarding his affilliations, only regarding his positions). I appreciate him as a highly-successful Independent. Only Kent Williams, speaker of the Tennessee House, is as interesting to me as Sanders. Closely followed by Anthony Pollina.

  9. citizen1

    Lieberman is and was at the time of the election a registered Democrat. The CTL could as hurt Dodd in 2010 as the will need to endorse a candidate to hold on to their ballot access.

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