News March 26

Senator Sanders

Postal Service The Senate votes Monday on whether to take up a bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service. Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to stop Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's plans to close post offices and slow first-class mail, The Associated Press reported. The Washington Post said online that the bill was strengthened to avoid Sanders' objections. LINK, LINK

USPS Sanders has led a group pressing for stronger language to save rural post offices and mail processing plants, maintain robust delivery standards and Saturday delivery, and save tens of thousands of jobs, the Times Argus reported. LINK

Energy and Defense Senate Democrats have been looking to tell a good news story about the military's energy efforts. Sens. Sanders' and Sheldon Whitehouse's subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on Tuesday about collaboration between EPA and the Defense Department, Environment & Energy Daily reported.

Sanders ‘Most Influential' on Twitter A study of 456 congressional Twitter accounts deemed Sen. Sanders the member with the most influence on Twitter, followed by Republicans John Boehner, Darrell Issa and John McCain, The (Washington, D.C.) Examiner reported. LINK

Dairy Farming Sens. Sanders and Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch back a plan to extend the Milk Income Loss Contract at current levels for another year. The safety net program expires on Aug. 31, the Rutland Herald and Times Argus reported. LINK

Gas and Oil Prices Speculation in the oil futures market ... has driven up the cost we pay at the pump. According to Sen. Sanders, Wall Street speculators controlled 30 percent of the oil futures market ten years ago, and now they control over 80 percent, Arlen Grossman said in a letter to the editor of The Monterey (Calif.) County Herald.

Poverty in America Fifty years ago Michael Harrington inspired Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to wage a war on poverty. Harrington, who followed in the footsteps of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, did not groom a successor. Today, only a handful of visible public figures, including Sen. Sanders, ... identify themselves as socialists, political scientist Peter Dreier blogged for The Huffington Post. LINK

National

Health Law Heads to Court The Supreme Court this week hears three days of arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law, with a ruling expected in late June, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Budget Congressional Republicans recognize that the $3.5 trillion budget proposal the GOP-led House is expected to adopt this week remains fraught with political peril, but they also believe they now know how to blunt Democratic attacks on its Medicare overhaul, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Long-Term Jobless The job market is improving but not for everyone. In February, 3.5 percent of the U.S. work force was unemployed for more than six months, compared with 4 percent in February of 2010, a smaller decline than in the overall jobless rate. The average unemployed worker has been jobless for 40 weeks, a mark that has barely budged in the past six months, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Vermont

Shumlin in DC for Firefighters Gov. Shumlin will speak Monday at a conference of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Washington. He was invited by the national association and Matthew Vinci of the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont., AP reported. LINK