(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.
I don't think I have ever agreed with Sen. Sanders...........but bravo on this one!! These CEO's are the sole reason that we are in the mess we have been for the past few years..........most of them should be in prison but they have never been held accountable by anyone!. Nothing but crooks and in reality they are traitors to America, pure and simple!!
America spoke on Nov 6. Mitt the twit and crew pay their fair share!
Give em hell Bernie.
The wall street CEO's belong in prison and are damn lucky that is not where they are at. What gives them the right to go to Congress and ask for anything? They are lowlifes that care nothing of the country that made it possible for them to be comfortable and obscenely wealthy. They took advantage of every American with their illegal activities that caused the problem America is facing. For them to come to Congress and give advice that will hurt elderly and disabled Americans is an insult. Who do they think they are?