News March 8

Senator Sanders 

Climate Change Most of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate and the independent Sen. Bernie Sanders will spend Monday night and early Tuesday speaking on the Senate floor in an all-night talkathon for congressional action on climate change, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post reported online. LINK, LINK 

Veterans Bill Republican senators failed to vote in the interests of their constituents in a key Senate vote on a bill expanding veterans benefits, Joseph Rotman said in a letter to The (Champaign, Ill.) News-Gazette. LINK 

Progressive Agenda Elayne Clift in a letter to The Keene (N.H.) Sentinel that she “couldn’t agree more” with Sen. Sanders’ legislative agenda but “even Bernie Sanders doesn’t have the energy to confront all of our woes in one go.” LINK   


Moscow Raises Pressure on West in Ukraine Crisis Russia ratcheted up pressure on the West over the Ukraine crisis on Friday, moving for the first time to endorse the Crimea region’s secession plan, threatening Ukrainian customers with a gas shut-off and warning the United States that “hasty and ill-considered steps” toward sanctions would harm relations, The New York Times reported. The fledgling national government in Kiev has denounced the Crimean regional government's plans to hold a referendum to join the Russian Federation on March 16 and has threatened to invalidate the outcome and dissolve the Crimean Parliament. LINK 

Business Groups Fear Sanctions Will Cost Millions Business groups are pushing to ensure that any economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States are joined by as much of the rest of the world as possible, warning Congress and the Obama administration that unilateral U.S. action would put tens of billions of dollars of American investments at risk, The Washington Post reported. LINK


CIA vs. Congress on Torture Senate Intelligence Committee investigators obtained an internal C.I.A. review of the agency’s detention and interrogation program. Parts of the report cast a particularly harsh light on the program that the agency was defending in a prolonged dispute with the intelligence committee. Agency officials began scouring the digital logs of the computer network used by the Senate staff members to try to learn how and where they got the report. That search not only raised constitutional questions about the agency investigating its congressional overseers, but has also resulted in two parallel inquiries by the Justice Department — one into the C.I.A. and one into the committee, The New York Times reported. LINK

Keystone Comments Flood State Department The State Department is being flooded with hundreds of thousands of public comments before a Friday deadline to weigh in on its review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Hill reported. Activists and environmentalists plan to deliver comments from more than 1 million people on Friday, while the American Petroleum Institute will send in more than 500,000 remarks. LINK

Former Wall Street Trader Found Guilty A jury found former Jefferies Group LLC trader Jesse Litvak guilty on Friday of violating federal securities laws by misrepresenting bond prices to his clients in an effort to boost his own trading profits, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Independent Generation Half of millennials identify themselves as independents up from 38 percent in 2004, according to a Pew study cited by Politico. Millennials showed the highest levels of political disaffiliation recorded for any generation in Pew Research’s last 25 years of polling. LINK


Shumlin Delays Health Care Funding The Shumlin Administration earlier this year promised to give lawmakers their first look at how Vermont might pay for single-payer health care. But the governor has once again opted to delay his financing timeline. It’s been three years since Peter Shumlin vowed to deliver the nation’s first publicly financed health care system. But he has yet to show voters what taxes he’d use to raise the $2 billion or so needed to fund the program, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Pipeline Plans Concern Homeowners Vermont homeowners are concerned about the potential use of eminent domain to make way for a natural gas line, The Associated Press reported. Vermont Gas has already won permission from the Vermont Public Service Board to extend its line through Monkton and other towns to Middlebury. The next phase of construction would pipe natural gas from Middlebury to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., passing through the rest of Addison County, including Cornwall and Shoreham, and also underneath Lake Champlain. The entire project is expected to cost about $140 million. LINK

Burlington Waterfront Plan Could Begin by Fall New projects on Lake Champlain's waterfront in Burlington could begin as soon as the fall, The Associated Press reported. Plans include lighting and infrastructure upgrades, changes to the bike path, and renovations of the Moran Plant which will include a restaurant and craft brewery. LINK