(CNN) – Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, derided Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, along with other Wall Street leaders, for pushing for cuts to entitlement programs as a part of the nation's budget negotiations.
"I do have a problem with wealthy CEOs from Wall Street who caused the recession now coming to Washington and saying, if you're old, if you're sick, or if you're poor, we're going to cut your benefits," the outspoken senator said Thursday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
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"I frankly think that's obscene," he continued. "We don't need advice from the people who caused this recession through their greed and illegal behavior."
Blankfein told CNN Wednesday that Democrats and Republicans needed to compromise to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff adding that he would be open to moving the top marginal tax rate for families making above $250,000 a year from 35% to 39.6% in addition to cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
The U.S. economy risks falling off the 'fiscal cliff,' a series of automatic federal spending cuts and tax rate increases set to go into effect if congressional leaders and the White House fail to reach a budget deal by a year-end deadline.
"Here you have a guy from Wall Street who is making $10 million, $20 million a year, worth a whole lot of money who along with his other CEO friends helped plunge this country into the worst recession since the 1930s, got a huge bailout," said Sanders.
Sanders comments come as President Barack Obama and congressional leaders met with CEOs and business leaders this week to seek ways to avoid the fiscal cliff, the top economic issue facing the nation. Leaders of the largest companies have indicated they are holding off on hiring and spending because they are worried about Washington gridlock over the fiscal cliff.
–CNN's Ashley Killough and Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.