News September 25

Senator Sanders

Budget Standoff Congressional Republicans are threatening a government shutdown on Tuesday in their effort to defund President Barack Obama's health care law. “It’s not going to happen,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Vermont Public Radio. “Quite incredibly, what the Republicans are saying is, ‘Yeah we failed 42 times, we lost the presidential election, but now we are prepared to shut down the entire United States government unless we end this legislation,’” Sanders said in a Senate speech on Tuesday. AUDIO

Sanders: Obamacare is ‘A Good Republican Program’ Sen. Sanders said Tuesday that the health care reform law doesn't go nearly far enough and reiterated his support of a single-payer, Medicare-for-all universal health care program. The U.S. is the "only nation in the entire industrial world that doesn't guarantee health care as a right," Sanders said on CNN's Crossfire. He called the Affordable Care Act a “good Republican program,” referring to the Massachusetts program by former governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. LINK, VIDEO

Crazy Budget Cuts The Senate is considering a House-passed resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown on Tuesday that would extend across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration. Interviewed Tuesday on The Bill Press Show, Sanders cited a new Census Bureau report that showed median family income today is less than it was 24 years ago and an increase in poverty. “The idea of punishing millions of Americans by radically cutting back on food stamps, by radically cutting back on the needs of people who are on the Meals on Wheels program … is absolutely crazy,” Sanders said.

Cruz’s All-Nighter Without hope of delaying a government funding resolution, Sen. Ted Cruz took to the floor of the Senate Tuesday to protest President Obama's 2010 health care law. He spoke through the night and still held the floor when the sun rose on Wednesday in a speech that National Journal and International Business Times compared to Sen. Sanders’ marathon speech against continuing tax cuts for the wealthy. The Associated Press listed Sanders’ 8 ½ hour speech in 2010 as the 11th longest in Senate history. LINKLINK, LINK

Cruz: ‘I Respect Sanders’ “I respect Sen. Sanders' commitment to his principles,” Sen. Cruz said late Tuesday during his marathon speech. “I respect that degree of candor and, frankly, I would be very happy if this body had 10 more Bernie Sanders and 10 more Mike Lees because I think that would be far more truth in advertising. Then we could have true debates about what the role of government should be in our lives.” Cruz said on C-SPAN and Fox News. VIDEO, VIDEO

Workers Protest Cleaning and concessions workers plan to walk off their jobs in federal buildings Wednesday and march on the White House, where they’ll demand President Obama wield his executive authority to raise labor standards for their taxpayer-funded jobs. The workers serve food or wash floors at the government-owned Union Station, Smithsonian museums, Ronald Reagan Building and Old Post Office. The protests include a press conference outside the White House featuring Sen. Sanders, reported. LINK

Domestic Spying The National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records is not making Americans safer and must end, Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a speech on Tuesday. Sen. Sanders also has called for curtailing government surveillance powers and is working with other members of Congress to rein in the NSA and other agencies, according to the Burlington Free Press. “Their job is to protect us against terrorists, but in a way that is consistent with the Constitution of the United States,” Sanders said in a statement. LINK

Older Americans Act As the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement, Sen. Sanders has “put together a bill before Congress asking to adjust the payments to the Older Americans Act to make sure there are nutritional meals available for the program,” KKCO-TV in Grand Junction, Colo., reported. VIDEO

Syria “Overwhelmingly, the people of Vermont, in numbers greater than 91 percent, insist that U.S. does not invade Syria, yet, Sanders, Leahy and Welch still are keeping that door ajar, ready to be convinced,” Emily Peyton wrote in the Times Argus. LINK


Obama at UN President Barack Obama told the United Nations General Assembly that "the diplomatic path must be tested" in Iran and Syria, The New York Times reported. He said that Iran’s diplomatic overture in recent weeks could provide a foundation for an agreement on its nuclear program, but warned that “conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.” LINK

Brazil Blasts U.S. Spying Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday opened the United Nations General Assembly with a speech condemning United States spying practices as a violation of human rights and international law, Reuters reported. LINK

Nairobi Attackers Vanquished Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed his nation Tuesday after Islamist militants killed 61 civilians and six military members, claiming to have "ashamed and defeated" the attackers. “These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons wherever they are,” he said, according to The New York Times. “Kenya endured. Kenya endures.” LINK

Kerry to Sign Arms Treaty Secretary of State John Kerry will sign the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty regulating the international conventional arms business, Reuters reported. The controversial treaty will face an uphill battle in the Senate, where the powerful American gun lobby will oppose ratification. LINK


Senate Democrats Seek a Shorter Spending Measure Senate Democrats Tuesday announced they would support a six-week federal-funding extension—a month shorter than the bill passed by the House. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski said she wanted a shorter-term funding extension because she feared Congress would leave the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester in place for the rest of the fiscal year, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Officials Detail Premium Costs of Health Plan The Obama administration on Tuesday provided the first detailed look at premiums to be charged to consumers for health insurance in 36 states where the federal government will run new insurance markets starting next week, highlighting costs it said were generally lower than previous estimates, The New York Times reported. LINK

Home Prices Rise July home prices rose at the fastest rate in seven years, according to new housing data cited by The Washington PostLINK


F-35 Decision Coming Soon The Vermont National Guard says a final environmental impact statement on whether the U.S. Air Force will base F-35 fighter jets in Burlington is expected to be released next week. Adjutant Gen. Steven Cray of the Guard said the release is expected on Friday, Oct. 4. The Air Force had delayed its report, saying it needed updated census data and extended the public comment period, AP reported.

Entergy Submits Closure Letter to NRC Entergy, the manager of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, has submitted a formal letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission informing the agency of its intent to close the plant in late 2014, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. LINK

Electronic Cigarette Regulations Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell signed a letter urging the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes the same way it regulates tobacco, The Associated Press reported. LINK