News April 26

Senator Sanders

Senate Passes Postal Reform The Senate on Wednesday voted 62-37 for a bill to shore up the U.S. Postal Service; National Public Radio, MSNBC and National Journal reported. "The vote followed more than five months of negotiations among senators, led by Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who were concerned about post-office closings," Bloomberg reported. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, AUDIO

Sorting Plants Saved The bill would mean a reprieve for the mail processing center in White River Junction, Vt., Sanders told WPTZ. "I'm doing everything I can to maintain strong delivery standards," he told WCAX. LINK, LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO

Rural Post Offices Would Stay Open "This bill, to a very significant degree, protects rural post offices from closing. For a state like mine, that's vital," said Sanders, who Politico called a champion of "the frosty rural outposts in the Green Mountains of Vermont." LINK

A New Business Model for USPS Praising passage of the Senate bill, Sen. Sanders said would give the Postal Service "the flexibility that it needs to raise additional revenue in the years to come by offering innovative new products and services in the digital age," CBS News reported online. LINK

USPS Fate Now up to House The bill now goes to House, where Sanders said "some people frankly would just privatize the post office" but others "are deeply concerned about maintaining rural post offices," Fox 44 reported. "The pressure is now going to be on the House to follow what we did and produce something meaningful," Sanders told Ed Schultz on MSNBC. VIDEO, VIDEO

Pharmaceutical Fraud Sen. Sanders sought stiffer penalties for drug companies that break laws. "Fraud cannot be a business model," he said, but his amendment lost 6-14, according to Congressional Quarterly. Sanders later voted against the bill to fund the Food and Drug Administration, The Hill and Politico reported. LINK, LINK, LINK

Social Media Sen. Sanders, honored as the best member of Congress on social media, told the Burlington Free Press it is a great tool to keep the public informed and for two-way dialogue on important issues. "It's an enormously important part of what we do as an office." LINK

Lyndon EMTs Lyndon Rescue and the Newark Volunteer Fire & Rescue received a grant sponsored by Sen. Sanders for an Emergency Medical Technician course. "We are grateful to Senator Sanders for securing this funding," Tom D'Ambra, Newark's Fire Chief said in The Caledonian Record. LINK

National

USPS Mail sorting centers would survive in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Missouri and Vermont, whose senators were sponsors of the postal bill or pushed amendments, according The Associated Press. Processing centers also were spared in Nevada, home to Senate Majority Leader Reid, as well as in Colorado, Maryland and Utah. LINK

Senate Poised to Pass Domestic Violence Bill The Senate is likely to approve a measure Thursday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans decided to postpone a battle over provisions of the sprawling bill dealing with immigration and new protections for gays, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Student Loans Democrats and Republicans differ on how to pay the cost of a steep increase in the student loan interest rates. Seven million students will see the interest on their federally subsidized loans double to 6.8 percent on July 1 unless Congress and the White House agree on how to prevent it, The New York Times reported. LINK

Immigration Case at Supreme Court The Supreme Court on Wednesday sharply questioned the Obama administration's view of the limited roles states may play in enforcing immigration laws and seemed receptive to a central part of Arizona's controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Vermont

Vermont Yankee The Vermont Senate is set to debate a new $7.5 million tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Backers say the tax is needed to replace money that Vermont Yankee had been paying into state coffers to support renewable energy, AP reported.