U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s ouster of Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is rooted in a Koch brothers-led effort to hand federal agencies over to private corporations.
“This is part of a broader approach of the Trump administration,” the senator, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, told CNN‘s “State of the Union.”
Sanders’ interview with host Jake Tapper comes days after Shulkin wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “advocates within the administration for privatizing V.A. health services […] saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed.”
As Common Dreams noted last week, “the VA has long been a major target of Charles and David Koch, who have used their ‘front group’ Concerned Veterans for America to advocate pushing veterans into the private healthcare market and sharply reducing the department’s budget.”
Echoing comments he made to the Washington Post last week, Sanders said, “Let us be clear…you have the Koch brothers—the third wealthiest family in this country who are going to spend some $400,000,000 on with their billionaire friends on the coming elections—having enormous power over the Trump administration.”
“And what the Koch brothers believe,” he said, “is not just that we have to privatize the Veterans Administration. They want to privatize Medicare … they want to privatize Medicaid… they’re beginning to go after Social Security.”
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“We have a Secretary of Education who does not believe in public education, a Secretary of the …EPA who does not believe in environmental protection. So what you’re looking at under the leadership of the Koch brothers is a massive effort to privatize agencies of the United States government and give them over to private corporations. That is what the removal of Shulkin is all about,” Sanders said.
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