Congress

The Vermont Independent, often depicted by the media and Republicans as well to the left of his party, is showing a conciliatory side.

Sen. Bernie Sanders arrives at the Capitol after meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday in Washington. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

By BURGESS EVERETT and LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ

Bernie Sanders gave Washington whiplash this week — and it was all part of his plan.

Barely 24 hours after the Vermont senator publicly rejected a $3.5 trillion spending deal following a Monday meeting with President Joe Biden, he turned around to tout it as the most transformational policy proposal in nearly 100 years.

The shift in tone was a tactic Sanders used to coax moderate Democrats into going far higher than they might have otherwise felt comfortable. After he had insisted on shooting for the moon with a $6 trillion budget proposal, $3.5 trillion suddenly looked pretty reasonable.

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