The Washington Times - April 12, 2011, 02:11PM

Sen. Bernard Sanders, one of the Senate’s most liberal members, announced Tuesday he will vote against the fiscal 2011 spending deal struck last week, saying it would cut more than $38 billion from programs that help working families without calling for shared sacrifice by the wealthiest Americans.

“Today, in order to reduce deficits that Republicans helped create, they now are slashing programs of enormous importance to working families, the elderly, the sick and children,” Mr. Sanders, Vermont independent, said.

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Mr. Sanders, who caucuses with Senate Democrats, called the bill “obscene” and said, “It moves America in exactly the wrong direction.”

“At a time when the gap between the very rich and everybody else is growing wider, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse,” he said. “It takes from struggling working families and gives to multimillionaires.

“While there is no question that we must reduce soaring deficits, it must be done in a way that is fair, which protects the most vulnerable people in our country and which requires shared sacrifice.”

The spending deal, announced late Friday, would keep federal agencies funded through the rest of the current fiscal year, which runs through the end of September.

The House and Senate must approve the package before midnight Friday to avert a government shutdown.