Treasury Secretary President Obama this afternoon will nominate White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew for treasury secretary. Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against Lew’s nomination in 2010 to head the Office of Management and Budget after Lew testified that he did not think deregulation of the financial industry was a “proximate cause” of the 2008 financial crisis, The Hill and Bloomberg reported. LINK, LINK
Treasury Secretary Lew was asked by Sen. Sanders whether he believed that the "deregulation of Wall Street, pushed by people like Alan Greenspan [and] Robert Rubin, contributed significantly to the disaster we saw on Wall Street." Lew did not think so. “I don't believe that deregulation was the proximate cause,” Politico reported. “For the record, a plethora of experts and Obama himself have said that, as the then-presidential candidate put it in 2008, “it's because of deregulation that Wall Street was able to engage in the kind of irresponsible actions that have caused this financial crisis,” according to National Journal. LINK
Fed Conflicts An outspoken Senate critic of the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that he would reintroduce legislation to ban bankers from the boardrooms of the 12 regional Fed branches. Citing potential conflicts of interest and using JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon to illustrate his point, Sen. Sanders called for a prohibition on all financial industry executives serving as regional Fed directors, Reuters, Bloomberg, United Press International, the Washington Examiner, The Hill and Law 360 reported. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK
A.I.G. Afraid of looking like a world-class ingrate, AIG on Wednesday decided against suing the federal government over the $182 billion bailout that saved the giant insurance company from collapse, The Washington Post reported. A public uproar had erupted over reports that the company was even considering whether to join the $25 billion lawsuit. Sen. Sanders told the Rutland Herald that it a lawsuit by A.I.G. would have been “preposterous”. LINK
Global Warming Ramping up calls to take on global warming in the new session of Congress, Sen. Sanders is floating legislation to impose fees on greenhouse gas emitters, The Hill and truthdig reported online. LINK, LINK
The Soul of America “The great debate taking place in Washington now has relatively little to do with financial issues. It is all about ideology. It is all about economic winners and losers in American society … It is all about the soul of America,” Sanders wrote in The Huffington Post, Michael Moore blog, Op-Ed News, Daily Kos and Green Mountain Daily. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK
Fiscal Cliff The so-called fiscal cliff legislation was better than the alternative, which is why I voted for it. Two million Americans desperately struggling to find a job would have had their unemployment benefits wiped out. The disappearing middle class … would have been hit with an average income tax hike of $2,200 a year,” Sen. Sanders wrote in a column published by the Valley News and Brattleboro Reformer. LINK, LINK
The Power of One Person The losing gubernatorial recall effort in Wisconsin “seems to have robbed many progressives of the energy to take on the forces of darkness,” Ed Garvey wrote in a column in The (Madison, Wis.) Capital Times. But he invoked the work of Sen. Sanders and others in calling on progressives to “figure out a way to change our society and get busy.” LINK
Environmentalists Put Heat on Obama The U.S.'s temperature record for 2012, after a year of extreme weather, is increasing pressure from some scientists and environmentalists on President Obama to take further steps to curb the emissions they say contribute to climate change. But The Wall Street Journal said congressional opposition and a sputtering economy all but rule out the prospect of sweeping legislation, leaving regulation as the most likely way the administration could try to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. LINK
White House May Bypass Congress on Guns President Obama is considering taking executive action to stem gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday, suggesting that some federal gun regulations will change even if support doesn't materialize in Congress. "The president is going to act," Mr. Biden said, as he opened multiple days of meetings with interest groups as part of his assignment from Mr. Obama to draw up proposals for responding to the elementary-school shootings in Newtown, Conn., The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK
Solis Exits, Holder Stays in Cabinet Attorney General Eric Holder will stay on the job into President Barack Obama's second term, the White House confirmed Wednesday, foreshadowing an extension of Mr. Holder's battles with congressional Republicans over the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking probe and other issues, according to The Wall Street Journal. LINK
Leahy, Harkin Turn Down Top Spot on Defense Appropriations Panel Sen. Patrick J. Leahy will remain chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the State Department and foreign aid, passing up a chance at running the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, who would be next in line, also decided to pass. That puts Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., in line to run the powerful panel, Roll Call reported. LINK
F-35s Decision Delayed The Vermont National Guard says the Air Force has delayed the release of a final environmental impact statement on plans on where to base its next-generation fighter jet, the F-35, until the spring. The Air Force says it needs to update the document to include 2010 census data for all six locations being considered. The delay will push back a decision on where the F-35s will be based, The Associated Press reported.
Trooper Plea Deal in Works A former Vermont State Police sergeant charged with padding his time sheets is expected to change his plea. The Burlington Free Press reported that James Deeghan is scheduled to withdraw his not-guilty pleas on Monday. Details of the potential plea agreement were not made public. Last year, Deeghan of Colchester was paid about $136,000, about $56,000 more than his base pay, although officials have said a trooper can typically expect to make about $30,000 in overtime a year.
Dean Records Going Public Ten years after Gov. Howard Dean left office, his gubernatorial records are being made public. Dean had invoked the Archives Act to seal for 10 years records that he felt were "privileged" and "sensitive," the Vermont Press Bureau reported.