News February 6

Senator Sanders

Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday plans to introduce legislation to raise $590 billion over a decade by closing tax sheltering techniques used by big companies, Reuters reported. The article said Senate Democrats are divided about how to revamp the tax code, which has not been overhauled since 1986.  LINK

Protect Social Security Sen. Chris Coons has lined up bipartisan support for his proposal to give startup companies a payroll tax credit for research and development costs. Coons’ proposal could face opposition from the liberal wing of the Democratic Caucus. For instance, Sen. Sanders has expressed concern about the impact of payroll tax cuts or credits on the Social Security Trust Fund, Congressional Quarterly reported. LINK

EPA Top Senate Democrats and independent Sen. Sanders urged President Obama to nominate a candidate with a strong record on protecting public health as the next EPA administrator. The push could be aimed at supporting California's air chief Mary Nichols, who has a record implementing the state's landmark climate change program, though the letter does not endorse a particular candidate, the trade publications Energy Washington Week, Clean Energy Report and Carbon Control News reported.

The Fed A proposal for Virginia to issue its own currency sailed through the House of Delegates this week as Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the institutions entrusted with safeguarding the economy. Much of the anger is directed at the Federal Reserve and some members of Congress have denounced what they considered Fed overreach. The Washington Post said a campaign by Sen. Sanders dubbed "Audit the Fed" culminated in a GAO report highlighting potential conflicts of interest. LINK

World

Ahmadinejad Visits Egypt President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Cairo on Tuesday, marking the first time an Iranian leader has visited Egypt since the two countries broke diplomatic ties 30 years ago, The New York Times reported. LINK

Gay Marriage in U.K. The House of Commons voted 400 to 175 for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Britain, The New York Times reported. LINK

National

Saturday Mail to End The U.S. Postal Service plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays starting Aug. 1, the agency is set to announce Wednesday. This means that for the first time Americans will receive mail only five days a weekm The Washington Post reported. LINK

Interior Secretary President Obama selected Sally Jewell, the chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Interior Department, White House officials said Wednesday. If confirmed, the former oil company official will take over a department that has been embroiled in controversy over regulation of oil and gas on public lands and waters in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Arctic Ocean, The New York Times reported. LINK

Obama to Congress: Stave Off Cuts President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to quickly pass a new package of limited spending cuts and tax increases to head off substantial across-the-board reductions to domestic and military spending set to begin on March 1, The New York Times reported. LINK

White House Weighs Emission Rules President Obama in next week's State of the Union speech will lay out a renewed effort to combat climate change that is expected to include using his authority to curb emissions from existing power plants, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Entergy and the Superdome Blackout Entergy Corp. ruled out a cyberattack as a cause of the blackout that interrupted the Super Bowl. Entergy, the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and the New Orleans Superdome manager will hire an independent third-party expert to probe the cause of the power failure, the companies and district said today in a joint statement, Bloomberg reported. LINK

SEC Conflicts Mary Jo White’s tenure as a white-collar defense lawyer could tangle up enforcement cases at the Securities and Exchanges Commission, for which she’s been nominated as chairman, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Gun Safety A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House unveiled their first bill targeting gun violence on Tuesday. The proposed law would give authorities the ability to prosecute gun traffickers and impose up to 20 years in jail for straw purchasers, The Huffington Post reported.  LINK

Vermont

Child Hunger Vermont House Republicans voted down a measure to provide free school lunches for low-income students, the Associated Press reported. House Minority Leader Don Turner said he wanted to vote up or down on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s education proposals as a package to provide better understanding of their cost. LINK

Wildlife Violations The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is joining 38 other states in sharing information about when hunting and fishing licenses are suspended. The act should help deter Vermonters who would expect to hunt, fish or trapped in other states after violating wildlife laws at home, the AP reported. LINK

Leahy Bill on Embassy Safety Sen. Patrick Leahy’s bill on increased embassy security has passed the U.S. Senate, WCAX-TV reported. The Senate bill would transfer $1.1 billion for upped security from a surplus of funds that are no longer needed in Iraq.  LINK

Predatory Lending Settlement Vermont will receive $371,000 as part of a $120 million multi-state settlement reached with Lender Processing Service, Inc. for improper conduct related to mortgage loan default servicing, the Rutland Herald reported. Once approved by the court, the settlement will require LPS to reform its business practices, and if necessary, to correct documents of individual homeowners to minimize their harm.  LINK