Bernie Sanders

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Bernie Sanders currently serves as the junior senator for the state of Vermont

Bernie Sanders is the Junior Senator for the state of Vermont. He is an Independent and was first elected in 2006. (map)

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Bernie Sanders voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

Sanders voted against the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq in the fall of 2002 and opposed the subsequent invasion. He later joined almost all of his colleagues in voting for a non-binding resolution expressing support for U.S. troops at the outset of the invasion, although he gave a floor speech blasting the partisan nature of the resolution and the Bush administration's actions in the run-up to the war.

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act

On January 15, 2007, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.[1] The measure was intended to increase performance standards for electricity generation and motor vehicles with the option of an emissions "cap and trade" system.

Main article: U.S. congressional action on climate change#Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007 (S.309)

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Sanders cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.[2]

Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007



The son of a Polish immigrant, Sanders was born September 8, 1941 in Brooklyn New York. Sanders was educated at Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago. He has lived in Vermont since 1964. He was a member of the anti-Vietnam War Liberty Union Party, and in the 1970s ran for governor and senator four times. Sanders is married to the former Dr. Jane O'Meara, president of Burlington College, and they have four children.

Sanders has worked as a free-lance writer, documentary film maker, was the director of the American People's Historical Society (1977) and a lecturer at Hamilton College (1989-1990) and Harvard University (1989).

In 1981, at the suggestion of a friend who was a philosophy professor at the University of Vermont, Sanders ran for mayor of Burlington, and defeated a six-term Democratic incumbent by 12 votes. Increasingly popular because of his successful revitalization of the downtown area, he won three more terms, defeating Democratic and Republican candidates. In his last run for mayor, in 1987, he defeated a candidate endorsed by both major parties.

During his first term, supporters of Sanders formed the Progressive Coalition, forerunner of the Vermont Progressive Party. The Progressives never held more than six seats on the 13-member city council, but it was enough to keep the council from overriding Sanders' vetoes. Under Sanders, Burlington became the first city in the country to fund community-trust housing. His administration also sued the local cable provider and won considerably reduced rates and a substantial cash settlement.

Sanders ran for governor in 1986. He finished third with 14.5% of the vote, which was enough to deny incumbent Democrat Madeleine Kunin a majority; she was elected by the state legislature. In 1988 when six-term incumbent Representative Jim Jeffords made a successful run for the Senate, Sanders ran for the open seat and narrowly lost to Peter Smith, the former lieutenant governor and the Republican candidate for governor two years earlier. He sought a rematch against Smith in 1990. In one of the biggest upsets in recent political history, he took 56 percent of the vote and defeated Smith by 16 points, becoming the first independent member of the House since 1950.

Congressional career

House of Representative election record

Sanders has been reelected six times and is the longest-serving independent member of the House. Despite his independent status, he has only faced one difficult contest. That came in 1994, in the midst of a huge Republican wave that saw that party take control of the House. In a year where marginal seats fell to Republicans left and right, Sanders managed a narrow 3-point victory. In every other election, he has never failed to win less than 55 percent of the vote. Most recently, in 2004, Sanders took 69% to Republican Greg Parke's 24% and Democrat Larry Drown's 7%.

Positions and Views

On the domestic front, Sanders supports universal health care and opposes foreign trade agreements which, he says, deprive American workers of their jobs while exploiting foreign workers in sweat-shop factories. An amendment he offered in 2005 to limit provisions giving the government power to obtain individuals' library and book-buying records passed the House by a significant bi-partisan majority, giving President Bush a rare and major legislative defeat and marking the first rejection of any section of the USA PATRIOT Act. His lifetime legislative score from the AFL-CIO is 100%. In contrast, as of 2004, he has a grade of "F" from the National Rifle Association, despite the fact that he voted against the Brady Bill and in October 2005 Sanders voted in favor of an NRA-sponsored bill to restrict lawsuits against gun manufacturers.[1]. On other issues Sanders does occasionally supported Republican led bills: he voted to abolish the marriage penalty and also for a bill that sought to ban human cloning.

Relations with rest of House

Although relations between Sanders and House Democratic leadership have not always been smooth, the Democrats have not actively campaigned against Sanders since his first run for Congress. While Democratic candidates have run against him in every election except 1994 (when Sanders managed to win the Democrats' endorsement), they have received scant financial support. He has endorsed every Democratic candidate for president of the United States since 1992.

Campaign for Senate

Sanders had mentioned on several occasions that he would run for the Senate if Jeffords, a longtime friend, ever retired. When Jeffords announced on April 21, 2005 that he would not seek a fourth term in 2006, Sanders wasted little time in formally jumping into the race.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, immediately endorsed Sanders. Schumer's backing was critical, as it likely means that any Democrat running against Sanders cannot expect to receive significant financial backing. He was also endorsed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean (a former governor of Vermont and presidential candidate in 2004) and other leading Democrats. Dean said in May that he considered Sanders an ally who voted with House Democrats.

According to the leftist magazine In These Times, "Judging from his popularity, Sanders' election is all but assured. If he takes office, he will become the Senate's most progressive member."[2]

Sanders defeated Republican Richard E. Tarrant 65% to 32% to win the seat. [3]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00000528&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Bernie Sanders
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

  • House Committee on Financial Services
    • Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit - Ranking Minority Member
    • Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity
    • Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy Trade and Technology
  • House Committee on Government Reform
    • Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Drug Policy and Human Resources
    • Subcommittee on National Security Emerging Threats and International Relations

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Co-Chair, Congressional Child Care Caucus,108th Congress
  • Officer, Congressional Progressive Caucus, 108th Congress
  • National Guard and Reserve Components Organization
  • Co-Chair, Prescription Drug Task Force

Boards and other Affiliations

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Bernie Sanders. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


Washington, DC: 332 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-5141
Web Email

36 Chickering Drive, Suite 103
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: 802-254-8732
Fax: 802-254-9207

1 Church Street, 2nd Floor
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: 800-339-9834
Fax: 802-860-6370

2 Spring St.
Montpelier, VT 05602
Phone: 802-223-2241
Fax: 802-229-5734

Articles and resources


Local blogs and discussion sites


Books and articles by Bernie Sanders

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. Senate
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: Senate Committee on the Budget, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on Energy, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on National Parks, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works/Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works/Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works/Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions, Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions/Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging, Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions/Subcommittee on Children and Families, Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 7, 2006
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 2007
Next Election:
November 6, 2012
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
U.S. House of Representatives, Mayor of Burlington
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 36 Chickering Drive, Suite 103, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: 802-254-8732 / Fax: 802-254-9207
2. 1 Church Street, 2nd Floor, Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: 800-339-9834 / Fax: 802-860-6370
3. 2 Spring St., Montpelier, VT 05602
Phone: 802-223-2241 / Fax: 802-229-5734

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: September 8, 1941

  1. OpenCongress: S.309
  3. Earth Day Network Global Advisory Committee, organizational web page, accessed December 21, 2013.