News March 23

Senator Sanders 

Senate Gets Soft on Swindlers The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would exempt some businesses from certain financial disclosure and governance requirements. Sen. Bernard Sanders joined 25 Democrats who voted no, according to The Washington Times, Raw Story, Huffington Post and Politicus. "At best, this bill could make it easier for con artists to defraud seniors out of their entire life savings by convincing them to invest in worthless companies," he said. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK

Postal Service Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set up a test vote Monday on taking up a U.S. Postal Service overhaul. A group of 26 Democratic senators led by Vermont independent Bernard Sanders are pushing for changes to the bill, Congressional Quarterly reported. LINK

USPS Sanders' group wants a four-year ban on any shift to five-day delivery. They're also seeking to stymie two other big USPS downsizing initiatives: A change in first-class delivery standards that's tied to the closing or consolidation of 223 mail processing plants and a round of post office closings, Federal Times reported. LINK

Oil Speculation Sen. Sanders introduced a bill which would require the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to reign in oil speculation, according to Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and Examiner.com "This is doable, you can do this. You can't do much about Iran threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz. Here's something you can do," O'Reilly said. VIDEO, LINK

Oil Subsidies President Obama will throw his weight behind a Senate bill to end oil subsidies. Sen. James Inhofe told Fox News it's "the same one Bernie Sanders from Vermont introduced" last year and "I killed it two to one." Bill McKibben told Raw Story he was "looking forward to real leadership from ... Sanders." VIDEO, LINK

Citizens United Sen. Sanders proposed an amendment titled Saving American Democracy that would overturn the Citizens United court ruling, The Vermont Cynic reported. LINK

Town Meeting Sen. Sanders met with more than 130 Vermonters in Bristol's Holley Hall last Sunday to discuss a range of issues, from health care to women's rights to an eroding middle class, The Addison County Independent reported. LINK

Child Care Sen. Sanders told child care workers that they do "the most important work there is," and that "it is absolutely imperative that we see a union for child-care providers," Jenny Tremblay wrote in a letter to the editor of the Rutland Herald. LINK

World

U.S. to Resume Aid to Egypt The Obama administration has decided to resume funding for Egypt's military and will bypass congressional requirements that U.S. officials certify the country's progress toward democracy, Capitol Hill aides told The Washington Post. LINK

National

House Votes to Kill a Medicare Cost Panel The Republican-controlled House passed a bill on Thursday to abolish a Medicare cost control board created by the new health care law, The New York Times reported. LINK

Insider Trading Ban Clears Congress The Senate gave final approval on Thursday to an ethics bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress, clearing the measure for President Obama, The New York Times reported. LINK

U.S. Inches Toward Energy Independence The oil and gas industry is vastly increasing production, reversing two decades of decline. At the same time, Americans are pumping significantly less gasoline because of the recession, higher gasoline prices, and more fuel-efficient vehicles, The New York Times reported. LINK

Obama Declares Pipeline Support President Obama stood in a field before acres of stacked pipeline pieces on Thursday to illustrate his support for expedited construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. His public declaration for the project pleased neither the industry and its Republican allies nor environmentalists, The New York Times reported. LINK

Green Jobs Green jobs accounted for 2.4 percent of the nation's total employment in 2010, the Labor Department reported Thursday in its first-ever survey of green goods and services jobs. The United States had 3.1 million green jobs in 2010, the vast majority of them in the private sector. The public sector listed 860,000 green jobs, according to The Washington Post. LINK

IRS Ramps Up Audits of Wealthiest The Internal Revenue Service expanded its audits of Americans earning more than $500,000 last year, with a stark increase for those making more than $1 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. LINK

Vermont

Vermont Yankee A 93-year-old anti-nuclear activist was among more than 130 protesters arrested at the corporate headquarters of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant Thursday, the first day of the plant's operation after the expiration of its 40-year license, The Associated Press reported. LINK