News July 3

Senator Sanders

Jobs Crisis With sluggish but steady economic growth, too many are forgetting the nation’s jobs crisis, says John Nichols of The Nation. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ provision in the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill would help find jobs for more than 400,000 16- to 24-year-olds who face especially high double-digit unemployment. “At a time when real unemployment is close to 14 percent and even higher among young people and minorities, it is absolutely imperative that we create millions of decent-paying jobs in our country,” remarked Sanders. LINK 

Chained CPI Demonstrators gathered in Burlington Tuesday to protest a proposed chained consumer price index, reported the Burlington Free Press. Sens. Sanders and Patrick Leahy were in attendance at the rally to oppose large benefit cuts for seniors on Social Security. LINK

Student Loans Sen. Sanders blames Congress for its failure to prevent the doubling of Stafford loan interest rates, according to WPTZ-TV. He said this week he will continue to fight for lower rates on student loans. VIDEO

Post-DOMA Military The Departments of Defense and Veterans’ Affairs are calculating the total cost of benefits for same-sex spouses after a Supreme Court ruling extended benefits to gay marriages, reported Number estimates will be available from the Congressional Budget Office this month, according to a spokesman for Sen. Sanders, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Benefits include on-base housing, health care, and legal assistance. LINK

Meals on Wheels Regular funding for the Meals on Wheels program, which offers meals to hungry senior citizens, has been severely impacted by the sequester, reported KVNF Public Radio. The program is recognized as one effective way to keep seniors out of expensive nursing homes and hospitals. Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced a reauthorization of the Older Americans Act which funds and expands the Meals on Wheels program. AUDIO

NSA Accountability Twenty-six senators, including Sen. Sanders, signed a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asking for more answers about the National Security Agency’s clandestine data collection efforts, reported the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. LINK

Fashion and Journalism In a media commentary piece for The Atlantic, Molly Ball argues that women politicians are not the only ones subjected to fashion scrutiny. In fact, it’s “practically a requirement,” according to Ball, to mention Sen. Sanders’ “unruly hair” in any profile of the Vermont leader. LINK


Egypt President Mohamed Morsi remained defiant amid deadly street protests and looming threats from the Egyptian military, reported The Washington Post. A military-set deadline for his resignation expires Wednesday. LINK 

Iranian Sanctions Iran is exploiting a loophole in Western sanctions to import missile-grade ore from both Germany and France, reported Reuters. The revelation follows new trade sanctions by the United States against Iran starting on July 1 that will blacklist sales of certain metals with Iran to prevent them from creating armor and missile components. LINK


Obamacare Delays President Barack Obama’s administration announced Tuesday its intention to delay the adoption of a provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring large businesses to start providing health care for their employees in 2014, reported The Washington Post. Businesses will not need to comply with the law until 2015, giving them more time to implement the complex requirements. LINK

Car Sales Car makers reported strong auto sales for the month of June as the industry had its best month in the last six years, according to The New York Times. LINK

Primary Care Shortages Residency training programs at medical schools cost taxpayers $13 billion every year. With a growing demand for health care, these schools are failing to produce enough primary care doctors, reported The Atlantic. LINK

Bank Expansion Four House Democrats sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke highlighting allegations that Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan participated in market manipulation, reported The Huffington Post. The letter warned of the possibility of bank runs caused by shocks to a company’s oil or mining interests. LINK

Hunger and the Sequester Indiscriminate sequestration cuts will cause vital nutrition programs for seniors to contract, according to Greg Kaufmann for Moyers & Company. Forty percent of Meals on Wheels programs will eliminate staff positions, and 50 percent will reduce the number of seniors served. LINK

Immigration Contractors The Senate-approved immigration reform bill could give billions of dollars to federal contractors, reported The Hill. The bill included purchases such as four new drone aircraft and fifteen Blackhawk helicopters along with a plethora of other military technologies. LINK

Small Business Small Business Administration officials reported Tuesday that 22.25 percent of prime contracting dollars, or $89.9 billion went to small businesses in FY2012, according to The Washington Post. The goal set for this year by Congress was 23 percent. This marks the 12th year in a row that the federal government missed its goal. LINK

Texas Protests More than 5,000 demonstrators descended on the Texas Capitol Monday to express opposition to new abortion restrictions, reported The Washington Post. Lawmakers convened a new special legislative session aimed at reviving the bill that would limit where, when and how women may obtain abortions in the state. LINK

Illegal Wildlife Trafficking President Obama unfolded a plan to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching of rhinos and elephants in Africa, reported The Washington Post. The initiative includes a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking; an independent, eight-member advisory panel for the task force; and $10 million in State Department funding for training and technical assistance. LINK


Vermont and Obamacare A U.S. House committee is investigating whether or not Vermont’s new state health care exchange violates the Affordable Care Act, reported The Associated Press. State officials defended the Vermont law, which would require large businesses to seek health care for employees through the state exchange. LINK

Voting Rights Act Senator Patrick Leahy says he will call hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider legislation for protecting minority voters after the Supreme Court issued a decision last week that effectively halted enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reported The Associated Press. The Voting Rights Act required federal approval for changes to state and local voting procedures in some states and smaller jurisdictions. LINK

June Rainfall Farmers are feeling the effects of June’s record rainfall as high waters are flooding acres of crops, reported The Rutland Herald. At Burlington International Airport, the 9.86 inches of rain was the second highest for June ever recorded. LINK

USS Montpelier Crew members on a submarine bearing the name of Vermont’s state capital took their annual trip up from base in Norfolk, Virginia to Montpelier, reported The Times Argus. More than 100 people showed up to an event Tuesday night at Montepelier’s Veterans of Foreign Wars to hear about the traditions of the USS Montpelier and spend time with its crew. LINK