News February 2

Senator Sanders

Income Inequality The economy has gained 5.5 million jobs out of the 8.74 million jobs lost in the recession and the stock market topped 14,000 on Friday for the first time since 2007, but MSNBC’s Ed Schultz said millions of people are still out of work, the economy shrank in the last quarter, and two-thirds of Americans are planning to delay retirement because of the financial losses. “We have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth, worse today in the United States than at any time since 1928 before the Great Depression,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said. VIDEO

Jobs Real unemployment in January was greater than 14 percent, the Labor Department reported on Wednesday. To create jobs, Sanders said on MSNBC, “we need to invest significant sums of money rebuilding … roads, bridges, water systems, mass transit, et cetera” and “given the threat of global warming, we need to invest very heavily and create jobs in weatherization, energy efficiency and sustainable energy.” VIDEO

Veteran Unemployment The January unemployment rate for veterans was 7.6 percent. Senate Democratic leaders want to extend a program to provide one year of GI Bill benefits for unemployed veterans 35 and older who want to learn a new and marketable skill. Sen. Sanders is a cosponsor of the veterans’ jobs bill, Army Times reported. LINK

Veteran Suicides A Department of Veterans Affairs study released on Friday said 22 veterans a day commit suicide. “What we’re seeing is an extraordinary tragedy which speaks to the horror of war and the need for us to do a much better job assisting our soldiers and their families after they return home,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in Politico. LINK

Social Security President Obama proposed a stealth cut in Social Security by changing how benefits are adjusted for inflation, according to a Huffington Post video. Sen. Sanders said that is not the right way to treat seniors whose average benefit check is only about $1,200 a month. VIDEO

Social Security “Liberal groups that support benefit cuts, such as the chained Consumer Price Index, are in the minority,” Nancy J. Altman and Eric Kingson wrote in a Politico op-ed. The column also mentioned proposals by Sens. Sanders and others which would gradually eliminate the cap on earnings subject to the payroll tax. LINK

Wind Moratorium It was a big week for the debate over wind energy in Vermont. Sen. Sanders and Bill McKibben both came out forcefully against a proposed three-year moratorium on new wind projects, and supporters of a moratorium rallied at the Statehouse, Vermont Public Radio reported on Friday. LINK

Wind Moratorium Sen. Sanders “was flanked by some of the better-known environmental groups in the state to make his point” against a wind power moratorium, “Vermont This Week” moderator Stewart Ledbetter said Friday on Vermont Public Television.  In an address earlier in the week to the Vermont House, environmentalist Bill McKibben “came out firmly against the wind moratorium. He said he agreed wholeheartedly with Sanders,”added Vermont Public Radio’s John Dillon. VIDEO (6:41)

Wind Moratorium “Will we be seeing a Danziger cartoon of Sen. Sanders throwing a little guy off of a mountain ridge with a giant wind turbine in the background?”  Peter Yankowski of Rutland asked in a letter to the editor of the Rutland Herald. LINK

Budget Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said recently that "the revenue discussion is over." "Not for me," says Bernie Sanders.  According to Sanders, one of every four profitable U. S. corporations is paying "zero in federal taxes," columnist Milt Hankins wrote in The (Huntington, W.Va.) Herald-Dispatch.

World

U.S. Embassy Bombing A suicide bomber struck the American Embassy in Ankara on Friday, killing a Turkish security guard and seriously wounding a Turkish television journalist. Turkish officials said the bombing was linked to leftist domestic militants, The Washington Post reported. LINK

National

Contraceptive Compromise The Obama administration will allow religious organizations to opt-out of birth control coverage in health care coverage for employees, The New York Times reported. Female employees seeking such coverage will have access to a separate plan for contraception at no additional cost to the individual. The decision was announced amid various lawsuits against the administration for previously mandating contraceptive coverage for employees of religious organizations. LINK

Energy Secretary Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who won a Nobel Prize in physics, is stepping down. According to The Associated Press, potential replacements for Chu include former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire. Chu will stay on at least until the end of February. LINK

Brown Won’t Run for Senate Former Sen. Scott Brown will not run for Senate in the special election to succeed John Kerry, leaving the door open for Brown to run for governor next year, Politico reported. Massachusetts representatives Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch will compete in an April 30 Democratic party for the special election on June 25. LINK 

Vermont

Gas Prices The average price per gallon for gas has gone up 11 cents in the last month, the AP reported. According to vermontgasprices.com, the average is now at $3.65 with prices getting as high as $3.79 in Williston, Vergennes, Bethel, and Killington. LINK

End-of-Life A Vermont Senate committee voted 5-0 Friday for a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients who request it, though the bill’s future is far from certain. The vote in the Health & Welfare Committee will send the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it is expected to face some opposition, reported the AP. LINK 

Cold Case The FBI ended its investigation into the biggest heist in Vermont history when the statute of limitations passed. The crime occurred in Rutland 11 years ago when a single man overpowered two armored car guards and stole $1.9 million, the AP reported.  LINK