News May 15

Senator Sanders

JP Morgan JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s huge trading loss is stirring renewed scrutiny of governance at the bank's primary regulator, the Federal Reserve. Sen. Bernie Sanders said CEO Jamie Dimon‘s presence on the New York Fed's board of directors points to "blatant conflicts of interest," the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal online, WSJ Deal Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, Bloomberg News, Roll Call, The Hill, MSNBC and WCAX-TV reported. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO

Big Banks Citing the JPMorgan's $2 billion-plus loss, Sen. Sanders renewed his call for legislation to break up too-big-to-fail banks. "Mr. Dimon is making our case a little bit easier," Sanders told Patt Morrison on KPCC-FM in Los Angeles. "Bernie Sanders has been on this for a long time," Ed Schultz said on MSNBC. Sanders told Current TV's Eliot Spitzer there is growing concern about the concentration of bank ownership. AUDIO, VIDEO, VIDEO

Big Oil Sen. Bernie Sanders said the End Polluter Welfare Act he introduced would do away with tax breaks and subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries. "In some years, some of the large oil companies - after making billions of dollars in profit - pay absolutely nothing in federal income tax. That is clearly wrong," Sanders said on Current TV. Environmentalist Bill McKibben discussed Sanders' legislation in an interview with Environment & Energy TV News. LINK, LINK

Big Pharma Sen. Sanders is pushing legislation to cut the cost of AIDS medication. He would eliminate legal barriers to generic competition and put up a $3-billion yearly prize fund to spur innovation. Sanders will chair a Senate subcommittee hearing on the proposal Tuesday, WCAX-TV and Politico reported. LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO

Save Social Security Sen. Sanders will join a protest today outside a fiscal forum hosted by the anti-Social Security Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Speakers indoors will include former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker John Boehner; Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, according to The Associated Press daybook. 

F-35 Strong, conflicting views about basing F-35 fighter jets at Burlington were aired at a public hearing Monday. A joint statement by Sens. Patrick Leahy and Sanders called the selection a "major vote of confidence" for the Vermont National Guard, but urged the Air Force to consider "legitimate concerns" about noise. Gov. Peter Shumlin "was unequivocal in his support," vtdigger.org reported. LINK

F-35 The Burlington Free Press said Vermont's congressional delegation and Gov. Shumlin "set the tone" in written remarks saying the Vermont National Guard "has proved its worth to the community in immeasurable ways, in peace and in wartime." WPTZ said public officials were "staunchly in support of the proposal to base the jet in Burlington's backyard." WCAX said "Vermont's congressional delegation and governor support stationing the planes in South Burlington." LINK, LINK, LINK

USPS Sen. Sanders wants the Postal Service to become "more entrepreneurial." Barry Mackintosh said in a letter to The Wall Street Journal that "entrepreneurship is not a hallmark of socialism, so perhaps Sanders should be forgiven for believing that retaining unnecessary employees and post offices are ... consistent with becoming more entrepreneurial."

World

Top U.S. General in Kabul to be Promoted Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, is expected to leave his post early next year and take over the U.S. European Command, officials told The Washington Post. LINK

National

Obama on JP Morgan President Obama argued for stricter Wall Street regulation, but during a taping of ABC's "The View," he praised JPMorgan as "one of the best managed banks" and called CEO Dimon "one of the smartest bankers we got." LINK

Deal Struck for Export Financing Senators reached an agreement paving the way to raise the financing authority of the U.S. Export-Import Bank to $140 billion by 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Vermont

Budget Surplus The state of Vermont is on track to record a small surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. According to the latest revenue report, the state's General Fund increased little more than 6 percent last month and this growth helped erase a shortfall from previous months, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Wind Project Rejected The Derby Selectboard voted against a controversial wind project to build two 300-foot high turbines on farm fields along the Canadian border. The developer said the turbines would provide green electricity to more than 2,000 homes, Fox 44 reported. LINK

Attorney General '12 Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan announced he has the support of the Vermont Democratic Party in his campaign for attorney genera,l but incumbent William Sorrell told WCAX-TV that the party often endorses more than one candidate and he also expects to get the party's backing. LINK