News October 25

Senator Sanders

Jobs The Senate plans to consider legislation to create jobs rebuilding roads and bridges, but the measure faces another Republican filibuster like one on Friday that blocked a bill to avert layoffs of teachers, cops and firefighters. Republicans are "living on another planet, not even recognizing the severity of the crisis, let alone doing anything about it," Sen. Bernie Sanders told Ed Schultz on MSNBC. LINK

Reform the Fed Sen. Sanders has compiled a team of progressive economists to advise him on legislation to make the Fed more transparent and to eliminate the appearance of conflicts of interest, Seven Days reported in a blog. LINK

The Recession and Older Americans "It is enormously important that we ask a question that has not been asked enough in my opinion, and that is what does this recession mean for older Americans?" Sen. Sanders said at the outset of a Senate hearing broadcast Monday on C-SPAN. VIDEO  

Maple Syrup Sens. Patrick Leahy and Sanders would throw people in federal prison for five years for fraudulently marketing other sweeteners as Vermont maple syrup. The measure was proposed after the Food and Drug Administration caught a man passing sugar cane syrup off as maple syrup, the Los Angeles Times reported. LINK

Tar Sands Pipeline The EPA is expected to release any day now its analysis of the State Department environmental evaluation of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department is continuing to receive pressure with a planned large-scale protest for November and from Sen. Sanders' criticism last week, Truthout reported. LINK

Vatican The Vatican has issued a statement advocating a more progressive approach to the global economy in advance of the G20 summit. Faith in Public Life, a progressive group, said the document is to the left of every U.S. politician but Sen. Sanders, CNN reported online. LINK

Education Members of the Senate education committee tried but failed to strengthen language on teacher qualifications, rejecting Sen. Sanders' proposal, according to National Journal. LINK

College Students A college edition of Sen. Sanders' "The Bernie Buzz" newsletter will be published after seeking input from students across Vermont. "I think the voices of young people are not heard enough," Sanders told UVM's Vermont Cynic. LINK

Distinguished Citizen Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is this year's recipient of the Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America's "distinguished citizen award." Last year's recipient was Sen. Sanders, the Times Argus reported. LINK

Home Loans Sanders' vote to let the government provide home loans up to $729,750 - several times larger than the cost of an average American home - is contrary to his support of the ideals of Occupy Wall Street, John Berlau claimed in National Review Online. LINK

Letters Kathy Hepburn of Wallingford wrote a letter to the editor of the Bennington Banner questioning Sen. Sanders' stand on the Lowell Mountain wind energy project. Russ Charron of Williston wrote to the Burlington Free Press to differ with Sanders about a Vermont National Guard solar project. LINK and LINK

World

Recession Worries Grip Europe The risk of recession in the euro zone is mounting, according to a closely watched business survey, signaling that a vicious cycle of fiscal austerity and economic contraction threatens even some of Europe's biggest economies, according to The Wall Street Journal. LINK

U.S. Ambassador Pulled Out of Syria The Obama administration said Monday that it had called home the U.S. ambassador to Syria over concerns about his personal safety, prompting Damascus to pull its ambassador from Washington, The Washington Post reported. LINK

National

Mortgage Program Limited The federal government's expansion of a home refinancing program could reduce monthly payments of up to one million homeowners, but the modest plan would probably do little to heal the housing market or help the broader economy, The New York Times reported. LINK

Gulf War Illness Twenty years after the Persian Gulf War ended, the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to standardize and improve treatment for veterans who suffer from an illness that could have been caused by environmental exposures, USA Today reported. LINK

Vermont

Irene Tax Relief Rep. Peter Welch said he will introduce a bill that would provide tax relief for low-income Vermonters affected by Tropical Storm Irene. Welch announced the legislation at Burlington International Airport Monday morning as he got ready to head back to Washington, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Welch on Libya Welch is asking President Obama to make Libyans reimburse taxpayers for America's military efforts in Libya, VPR reported. LINK

Wind Power The Burlington Electric Department has begun to receive electricity generated from a wind farm in Sheffield, a project that will provide Burlington Electric with 13 percent of its total energy needs and move the utility toward its goal of providing 100 percent renewable energy, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Occupy Vermont The Occupy Vermont group plans to move to City Hall Park in Burlington on Friday afternoon. They're asking protesters to bring tarps, tents, sleeping backs, food, water, games and music to the park that has an 11 p.m. curfew, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Curran Scholarship The late Vermont AP Bureau Chief John Curran is being honored by the Miss America Organization with a scholarship in his name to go to a non-finalist studying journalism, The Washington Post reported. LINK

First Snow Vermont is expecting its first snow of the season on Thursday, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK