News September 21

Senator Sanders

Social Security Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 28 other members of the 53-member Senate Democratic caucus signed a letter opposing any cuts to Social Security as part of a deficit reduction package. The letter was organized by Sen. Sanders, The Hill and Platts News reported. LINK, LINK

Social Security Described by Congressional Quarterly as "one of Congress' most-outspoken Social Security advocates," Sen. Sanders told a Capitol news conference that balancing the budget "on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country ... is not only a moral outrage but extremely bad economic policy." LINK

Social Security The letter was hailed by some groups representing senior citizens. "Unlike Governor Mitt Romney, the senators who signed this letter understand that Social Security is earned through hard work and contributions; it is not a government handout," Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works, told The HillLINK

Social Security "There is a real and growing effort on the part of Wall Street, virtually all Republicans and some Democrats to cut Social Security in the name of deficit reduction. Those cuts will be devastating to a lot of struggling seniors, and to folks who are disabled veterans who put their lives on the line for this country," Sen. Sanders said on The Thom Hartmann Program.

‘Obscene and Arrogant' Mitt Romney "is lecturing working-class people who have spent their entire lives working, taking personal responsibility for raising their kids, struggling, some, in some cases, going off to war to defend us ... because they're now on Social Security and Medicare - programs that they paid for," Sanders told "Viewpoint" host Eliot Spitzer on Current TV. VIDEO

Older Americans Act Legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, the law that governs social services for seniors, was introduced Wednesday by Sen. Sanders and 15 co-sponsors. It's an effort to pave the way for enactment by early in the next session of Congress. Sanders is chairman of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, Congressional Quarterly reported. LINK

Dairy Farms Congress is leaving for nearly two months without acting on a farm bill, leaving Vermont dairy farmers with no safety net if milk prices drop. Sens. Sanders and Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch hoped for a temporary extension of a dairy program until a farm bill is passed, The Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Gas Prices Big Oil, market speculators and concentrated ownership of local gasoline distributors are three factors that drive up gasoline prices despite lower demand and increased supply, Sen. Sanders told WDEV-AM radio host Mark Johnson.

Cabot Conference The town of Cabot will host government and business leaders on Sept. 25 to talk about the challenges and opportunities the town faces. Members of the council currently include Jenny Nelson, policy adviser with the office of Sen. Sanders, the Times Argus reported. LINK The Republican who is challenging Bernie Sanders for the U.S. Senate this November made a swing through the Champlain valley today.

World

Syrian Planes Bomb Syria At least 30 people, and possibly dozens more, were killed in Syria on Thursday in northern Raqqa Province when government warplanes bombed a gas station crowded with cars and people, according to a witness at the scene and activist groups, according to The New York Times. LINK 

National 

Political Maneuvering Stalls Congress's Close Congress's expected departure for the campaign trail was held up on Thursday by the political fortunes of two senators battling for survival, Scott P. Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, and Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, The New York Times reported. LINK

Bill to Keep Graduates in U.S. Fails in the House A Republican bill to provide permanent resident visas for foreigners who graduate from American universities with advanced degrees in science and technology failed to pass the House on Thursday, The New York Times reported. LINK

Ryan and Obama to Address AARP Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, whose plans for Medicare are under attack by President Obama and other Democrats, addresses an AARP conference Friday in New Orleans, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Corporate Loopholes in Tax Law Targeted Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard used accounting strategies to hold down their U.S. tax bills while shifting profits in and out of the country, according to a Senate subcommittee investigating how multinational companies exploit the intricate U.S. corporate-tax code, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Vermont

Doctors Conference Physicians from around Vermont are holding a conference this weekend in Burlington on how they can best involve themselves in ongoing efforts to reform the state's health care system. The Vermont Medical Society, the University of Vermont College of Medicine are sponsoring Saturday's event at UVM, AP reported. LINK