News May 17

Senator Sanders

USPS The Postal Service, which last week backed off plans to close hundreds of rural post offices, still intends to close about 120 mail processing plants. But that new number to be announced today is far fewer than the 223 plants that it had threatened to close. Sen. Bernie Sanders asked the service to keep some plants open, including one in Vermont, Bloomberg News reported. LINK

JP Morgan The fallout from a massive investment loss at JPMorgan Chase continued to spread Wednesday when Sen. Sanders called for new legislation to remove conflicts of interest between regulators and Wall Street banks, The Christian Science Monitor reported. LINK

JP Morgan "We need to start breaking up these huge banks, which control so much of our economy," Sen. Sanders told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.  "People are furious with Wall Street," he told radio host Ed Schultz. "They do not want Wall Street ... waging risky bets ... and threatening the entire economy," Sanders told Schultz on MSNBC. AUDIO, VIDEO, VIDEO

Fed Conflict Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, believes Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, should resign from the New York Fed. So does Sen. Sanders, Joan Vennochi wrote in a Boston Globe column. LINK

AIDS Drugs Sen. Bernard Sanders held a hearing Tuesday to discuss his proposal to substitute a prize fund for the patent system for drug companies. "We should reward innovators for developing these new medicines in a way that does not force any of those who need the drugs to wait, suffer and in some cases, die," Sanders said in a Scripps Howard report. LINK

F-35s Vermont's congressional delegation sounds slightly less enthusiastic about the potential arrival of the F-35s than it did almost two years ago. Leahy and Sanders offered only lukewarm and hedged endorsements last week about whether they still view South Burlington as a suitable site for the new warplanes, Seven Days reported. LINK

Oil Subsidies Sen. Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison penned legislation that would prevent future subsidies for the oil, coal and natural-gas industries. "We ensure that never again can a company like BP take a tax deduction for money spent cleaning up its own mess in the Gulf of Mexico," Sanders said in the Chico (Calif.) News and Review. LINK

Export-Import Conservative stalwarts like Jim DeMint teamed up with the liberal stalwart Sanders in voting on Tuesday against reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. "The far left and far right often join forces against corporate welfare," according to The Washington Examiner. LINK

Americans Elect Americans Elect, which hoped to build a third party through an online primary, threw in the towel this week. There is no lack of third parties in this country, and Sanders is one of two independents in the Senate, Scripps Howard News Service reported.

Bernie and the Billionaire Peter G. Peterson has been able to drive a major shift in elite consensus about government spending with fiscal forums like one on Thursday. Sen. Sanders spoke to a protest rally outside the summit, FireDogLake.com reported. LINK

National

White House: Toughen Rules on Banks In the wake of losses at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the White House is seeking to ensure a tough interpretation of a regulation designed to prevent banks from making bets with their own money, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

JPMorgan Loss Now Pegged at $3 Billion The trading losses suffered by JPMorgan Chase have surged in recent days, surpassing the bank's initial $2 billion estimate by at least $1 billion, according to The New York Times. LINK

Obama Tough Talk on Debt Fight President Obama warned congressional leaders on Wednesday that he would not tolerate a replay of the bitter debt-ceiling fight of last summer that nearly put the United States in default and led to the nation's first credit-rating downgrade, The Washington Post reported. LINK 

Senate Budget Votes The Senate became a political staging ground for meaningless budget votes on Wednesday, as five different budget plans spanning a range of fiscal ideologies failed, including the House Republican budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, Politico reported. LINK

Vermont 

Irene Recovery The White House has made more federal funding available to Vermont for damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont's congressional delegation said Wednesday that the change means Vermont could receive more than $30 million in additional funding, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Vermont Bans Fracturing Although there is believed to be little to no natural gas or oil beneath the surface in Vermont, Gov. Shumlin on Wednesday signed into law the nation's first ban on a hotly debated natural gas drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laced water deep into the ground, AP reported. LINK

UVM Tuition Going Up Interim President John Bramley set a limit last fall that tuition would go up no more than 3.5 percent. That's the increase trustees are likely to approve at their meetings Friday and Saturday, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK