News February 9

Senator Sanders

Tax Dodgers Sen. Bernard Sanders said some of the same corporations that took taxpayer bailouts after the 2008 financial collapse now are evading U.S. taxes by using offshore tax havens. “They are American companies when they want to be bailed out. They are foreign companies when they do not want to help us with deficit reduction or job creation,” Sanders said Friday on The Ed Schultz Show. “It is past time to put the kibosh on tax evaders who are (legally) robbing federal and state governments of billions of dollars,” the Brattleboro Reformer said in an editorial supporting Sanders’ bill to close the loophole. LINK AUDIO

Lew Invested in Cayman Fund Senate Republicans said Friday that they will press Treasury secretary nominee Jacob Lew about his one-time investment in a fund based in the Cayman Islands. According to Securities and Exchange Commission documents, Lew invested in a hedge fund based at the Ugland House in the Cayman Islands. So far, only Sens. Jeff Sessions and Sanders have announced opposition to Lew’s confirmation, Congressional Quarterly reported. LINK

USPS Instead of ending Saturday mail, as the postmaster general proposed this week, Sen. Sanders said on Friday that Congress should stop making the Postal Service sock away billions of dollars a year in an already-flush account for future retiree’s health benefits. He also suggested modernizing the Postal Service business model. “The goal is to turn the Post Office over in a way to make it relevant to the 21st century,” Sanders said on The Ed Schultz Show. AUDIO

USPS Eliminating six-day delivery we will hurt rural America while doing very little to improve the financial condition of the Postal Service, Sen. Sanders said Saturday in a CBS Radio News report on the Washington, D.C., all-news station WTOP-AM and WXDE-AM in Delaware. AUDIO, AUDIO

Veterans Health A decision this week by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments to scrap an ambitious effort to create a single shared electronic health-records system for service members and veterans is drawing sharp criticism on Capitol Hill. Sen. Sanders, chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the decision, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Avoiding Sequester Senate Democrats are trying to assemble a short-term bill that will use a combination of spending cuts and increased revenue to avoid the March 1 sequester deadline. According to Congressional Quarterly, Sen. Sanders wants any new deficit-reduction package to be “focused entirely on new revenue.”  LINK

Tar Sands Pipeline Elizabeth May, the leader of Canada's Green Party and a member of parliament, met with Sens. Sanders and Chris Murphy about rejecting a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. “Canadians want a plan to cut greenhouse gases, reduce pollution and have a sensible energy strategy,” May said in a statement. “Stopping the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline will help us reach these goals and fight climate change," Politico reported. LINK


Heavy Snow and Winds Batter Northeast More than 28 inches of snow had fallen on central Connecticut by early Saturday, and areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire notched 2 feet or more of snow — with more falling. Airlines scratched more than 5,300 flights through Saturday, and New York City's three major airports and Boston's Logan Airport closed, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Sequester Debate Top White House officials said Friday they would defer to Congress on how best to avert $85 billion in spending cuts set to begin in March, The Wall Street Journal reported.  The White House has played a lead role in almost all of the Washington budget battles in the past two years, often engaging in closed-door talks that fell apart. LINK

Entergy Blamed for Blackout The Superdome's power company, New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., took the blame Friday for the Super Bowl blackout, saying the cause was a faulty device that had been installed in its switching gear and designed to prevent a failure of electric cables leading to the stadium, AP reported. LINK


Heavy Snow Hundreds of Vermont schools were closed Friday as a winter storm blanketed the state with snow. Northern Vermont is expected to get 6 to 12 inches of snow by Saturday morning while central and southeastern parts of the state could get up to 20 inches, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Vermont Vet Honored A Vermont veteran was honored in Montpelier this week. John Micknick was presented with military medals for his service as a merchant marine during World War II, WCAX=TV reported. The 91-year-old was surrounded by friends, family and Norwich University cadets at the afternoon ceremony at Westview Meadows. LINK

Reach-Up Advocates and low-income people are pushing back on Gov. Peter Shumlin's proposed cuts to the state's main welfare-to-work program, Vermont Public Radio reported. Shumlin wants to cut $6 million from the Reach-up program. He's also wants recipients to leave the program after three consecutive years, with a lifetime cap of five years. LINK

Syrup Heist Canadian officials have linked Maple Grove Farms of Vermont to a case in which $20 million of maple syrup was stolen in Quebec. The St. Johnsbury company denies any wrong-doing, The Caledonian-Record reported. LINK

Best Beer Hill Farmstead Brewery of Greensboro Bend has been named the 2013 Best Brewery in the World by RateBeer, The Burlington Free Press reported. RateBeer is the world’s largest and most popular beer review and rating website. The awards are determined by members and experienced beer critics. LINK