News March 2

Senator Sanders

Birth Control The Senate narrowly rejected a Republican amendment to circumvent a rule requiring employers to provide contraceptives. "If the Senate had 83 women and 17 men instead of 83 men and 17 women, my strong guess is a bill like this would never make it to the floor," Sanders said on MSNBC and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and in USA Today and the Chicago Sun-Times. Sanders opposition also was covered in online reports for the Burlington Free Press, Wall Street Journal and In These Times.  LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO, AUDIO  

Postal Service "I have been working with a large and growing group of senators ... [O]ur plan would maintain delivery standards for first-class mail and preserve Saturday deliveries ... At a time when the post office is losing substantial revenue from the instantaneous flow of information by email and on the Internet, slowing mail service is a recipe for disaster," Sen. Sanders wrote in a column published by Politico. LINK

Dental Crisis Sen. Sanders is trying to highlight the need for better access to dental care in the United States. He held a hearing of his Senate subcommittee on Wednesday at which he heard testimony that many Americans forego needed dental care because they lack insurance and can't afford it, ABC22, Fox 44 and the Brattleboro Reformer reported. VIDEO, LINK

Global Warming Congressional Democrats found vocal allies in their quest to cap carbon dioxide emissions -- the insurance and reinsurance industries. Sens. Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse told reporters that record temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events are causing billions of dollars in losses for property owners and their insurers, Environment & Energy and the Providence (R.I.) Journal reported and Wonkette blogged. LINK, LINK

Clean Energy Sen. Jeff Bingaman today unveiled legislation to boost the nation's reliance on low-carbon energy sources. Sanders, one of the bill's cosponsors, hailed the measure as a way of reversing the damaging effects of climate change, bolstering the production of domestic clean energy and creating jobs, but said the bill "is not perfect,"  Greenwire, ThinkProgress, Argus, E&E NewsPM, reported LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK  

Saving Democracy "We believe that the Bill of Rights protects all Americans, whether as individuals or as associations of individuals organized for whatever purpose ... That argument will be lost on Sanders, who has no understanding of or appreciation for constitutional liberty. For him, and his minions, it's about seizing power to bring about the All-Powerful Socialist State," The Caledonian Record editorialized. LINK

Koch Brothers Sen. Sanders discussed how the Koch brothers bankroll an army of right-wing organizations in Brave New Foundation's new film Koch Brothers Exposed, Robert Greenwald blogged at Daily Kos. LINK

Thom Hartmann "There are a couple of progressive shows that do a lot of suck-up interviews with Democratic politicians, but they're in the minority. And we've never been one of them," Thom Hartmann told The American Prospect. Sen. Sanders comes on Hartmann's radio program once a week to field questions from listeners, but "he's the only politician that we have on the program with any regularity at all," Hartmann said. LINK

World

China China is moderating its appetite for investing in U.S. securities, a trend that could mean lower flows of cheap capital from Beijing and a possible rise in borrowing costs across the American economy, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

National

Obama: End Oil Subsidies President Obama reiterated his call for Congress to repeal federal subsidies to the oil industry Thursday, escalating a political skirmish with Republicans over rising gasoline prices amid evidence that much of the public remains uncertain about who is to blame. Nearly one-quarter of Americans do not know who to hold most responsible for the spike in prices, which have shot up 47 cents per gallon over the past two months, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. LINK

Postal Cuts Are Dead Letter in Congress Congress says it is trying to find ways to get the U.S. Postal Service out of the red. But some lawmakers, according to The Wall Street Journal, have also become an obstacle in this cost-cutting effort as they resist the agency's plan to close post offices and mail-sorting hubs. LINK

Vermont

Vermont Yankee The Public Service Board flatly refused a late-in-the-game request Thursday by Entergy that it step aside while the federal courts decide its role - if any - in the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.  Entergy Nuclear had filed a motion with the Public Service Board on Wednesday to defer proceedings pending before the board until a group of motions it filed Monday in federal court were decided, the Rutland Herald reported.

Irene Rebuilding The state of Vermont is planning to help communities across the state pay for unmet repair bills for damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Even after state and federal disaster assistance is taken into account, many Vermont communities are facing huge local repair bills. The Finance Department estimates the move will cost the state between $1.5 million and $5 million, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK