News January 22

Senator Sanders

Obama Inaugurated for 2nd Term Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “I look forward to working with him to create the millions of jobs that our workers need, to provide health care for all Americans and to protect the social safety net for seniors, veterans, children and the poor,” according to the Burlington Free Pres. Obama “laid out a strong vision for how we must protect our planet” from global warming,” Sanders said on WPTZ-TV. And “our first African-American president invoked our country's long history of advancing civil rights,” the senator said on WCAX-TV. LINK, VIDEO, LINK, VIDEO

Social Security President Obama has been too eager to go along with congressional Republicans to reduce Social Security benefits by lowering cost-of-living adjustments for millions of retirees, widows and orphans,” Sen. Sanders wrote in a letter to the editor of The New York Times. Shifting to a “chained” consumer price index also would take benefits away from more than three million disabled veterans and their families and result in across-the-board tax increases with a disproportionate effect on working families, Sanders said. LINK

Treasury Secretary Sen. Sanders has come out against the nomination of Jacob Lew to be treasury secretary in part because of his willingness to cut benefits for Social Security and Medicare. “That's not the way you do deficit reduction,” Sanders told The Washington Post. LINK

Obama’s ‘Progressive Agenda’ President Obama’s inaugural address announced “his progressive intentions for a second term: to defend the aims of the entitlement state, to take on climate-change deniers, to promote gay rights and equal pay for women, to extract the country from perpetual war,” according to Politico. Sen. Sanders voiced concern about potential cuts in safety net programs. “I think that's a mistake. Especially in the midst of a recession, we must not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. You got to ask large corporations and the wealthy to start paying their fair share of taxes.” LINK

Inaugural Souvenirs The Presidential Inaugural Committee picked Maple Landmark Woodcraft on Middlebury, Vt., and other American manufacturers to produce official made-in America souvenirs for the inauguration. Advocates for American manufacturing, including Sen. Bernie Sanders say more and more people are looking for products labeled “Made in the USA” whenever possible, New England Cable News reported. LINK

Vermont Ball Hundreds of Vermonters and friends of the state gathered at a $100-a-ticket reception Sunday evening. Vermont products were there in abundance. WhistlePig Rye whiskey flowed freely, along with Long Trail Ale. Grafton Village Cheese and Gringo Jack’s chips were consumed along with other tasty foodstuffs. The celebratory rhetoric also flowed.  Sen. Sanders proclaimed that Vermont was “a model for what this nation can be,” the Rutland Herald and Times Argus reported.

Salute to Heroes Ball Covering the Salute to Heroes Ball, Fox Business News anchor Neal Cavuto noted the formal attire of almost all of the attendees. “Bernie Sanders, the senator on the fine state of Vermont, was the only fellow who was wearing a tie,” he reported. VIDEO

World

Algeria Hostage Crisis The prime minister of Algeria offered an unapologetic defense on Monday of the country’s tough actions to end the Sahara hostage crisis, saying that the militants who had carried out the kidnappings intended to kill all their captives and that the army saved many from death by attacking. But the assertion came as the death toll of foreign hostages rose sharply, to 37, and as American officials said they had offered sophisticated surveillance help that could minimize casualties, The New York Times reported. LINK

National

Speech Gives Climate Goals Center Stage President Obama made addressing climate change the most prominent policy vow of his second inaugural address, setting in motion what Democrats say will be a deliberately paced but aggressive campaign built around the use of his executive powers to sidestep congressional opposition, The New York Times reported. LINK

Republicans Move to Extend Borrowing Authority House Republicans on Monday moved to extend U.S. borrowing authority until May 19, setting a timeline for the next phase of budget wrangling between the White House and Congress, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Senate Democrats Meet on Filibuster Changes Tuesday could be the day that senators find out how much different the chamber may operate in the 113th Congress than it did in the 112th when it comes to filibusters. A delay in resolving changes in filibuster rules could throw a monkey wrench into any other business, including aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy, according to Roll Call. LINK

Support Grows for Roe v. Wade Seven in 10 Americans believe Roe v. Wade should stand, according to new data from a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. That is the highest level of support for landmark Supreme Court abortion-rights ruling handed down 40 years ago today. LINK

Vermont Leads as High-School Graduation Rate Rises The U.S. public high-school graduation rate climbed to a 35-year high in 2010, although U.S. high-school students are still struggling to keep up with their international peers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The data show that 78.2 percent of high-school students received their diploma in four years in 2010, a 2.7-percentage-point jump over the previous year. The U.S. Department of Education said Vermont has the highest high school graduation rate in the country. The department found that 91.4 percent of Vermont high school freshmen go on to graduate on time, The Associated Press reported. LINK, LINK  

Vermont

Gas Tax Gov. Peter Shumlin wants to be able to draw down all the federal transportation funds that are available to the state. That means it's likely that the governor will propose a plan to raise new gas tax revenues in his budget speech on Thursday, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Guns Senate Majority Leader Philip Baruth backed off his gun-ban bill on Monday, a week after he filed it, citing a lack of support among his colleagues and mounting opposition from outside the Statehouse. Baruth introduced a bill last week that would have prohibited the manufacture or sale of high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault weapons, VPR reported. LINK