News November 16

Senator Sanders

Social Security Sen. Sanders told a progressive summit in Washington on Thursday that middle-class Americans must not be the ones kicked over the fiscal cliff, Ed Schultz reported on MSNBC. “We're going to send a loud message to the leadership in the House, in the Senate, and President Obama. Do not cut Social Security. Do not cut Medicare. Do not cut Medicaid. We must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children or the poor,” Sanders said in a speech on The Ed Show. VIDEO

Deficit Reduction Sen. Sanders “got riled up” Thursday at the summit in advance of a White House meeting today on the budget, ABC 22 and Fox 44 reported. “Deficit reduction is a serious issue,” Sanders said. “There are fair ways to reduce the $1 trillion federal deficit and $16 trillion national debt, but balancing the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children and the poor is not among them,” The Huffington PostTimes Argus, Rutland Herald and The Hill reported online. LINKLINKLINKVIDEOVIDEO

Reagan was Right Republicans want to scare us about the fiscal cliff and use it to actually do something that has nothing to do with the deficit which is changing Social Security,” Ruth Conniff of The Progressive Magazine told Ed Schultz on MSNBC “That's something Bernie Sanders addressed very effectively. He quoted Ronald Reagan … to point out Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit or balancing budgets.”  Reagan said Social Security is funded by the payroll tax, all-news radio WTOP-AM in Washington, D.C. reported. VIDEOAUDIO

Obama’s Promise “It is clear to me that the president must keep the promise that he made to the American people …  We are going to ask the wealthiest people in the country to start paying thei share of taxes. That’s what he told the American people. He won on that … He has got to stick to that position. And we will be right behind him on that,” Sen. Sanders told Thomas Robert of MSNBCVIDEO

Stand Against Cuts “For once, the president and Democrats are going to have to stand tall and, in fact, do what the overwhelming majority of Americans want them to do, and that is protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and demand that the wealthiest corporations start paying their fair share of taxes,” Sen. Sanders said on The Ed Schultz Radio Show.

Veterans Sen. Patty Murray is stepping down as chairwoman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee provides an opportunity for Sen. Sanders to become the committee’s new chairman. Sanders has been among the lawmakers pushing the hardest to expand the reach of veterans’ programs especially health care, the Army Times reported. LINK

Global Warming “Scientists now believe that the worst case scenario projection may be, unfortunately, tragically, the right one. They are talking about the possibility of this planet warming by eight degrees by the end of this century,” Sen. Sanders told Thomas Roberts on MSNBC as President Obama toured damage in New York and New Jersey caused by Superstorm Sandy. “Virtually all the scientists who study this issue agree that global warming is real, that it is significantly caused by human activity and that it is already wreaking havoc on this planet in terms of floods, drought, wild-fires and severe weather disturbances,” Sanders said in a column for The Caledonian-RecordLINK

Irene Recovery It remains unclear if a change in Federal Emergency Management Agency policy will allow Bennington area taxpayers to recoup $4 million spent on emergency river cleanup after Tropical Storm Irene. The congressional delegation touted progress last month when FEMA acknowledged it was responsible for work but a formal rule change leaves it unclear that the new guidelines can retroactively help Bennington, the Bennington Banner reported. LINK

Birther Lawsuit Tossed A Vermont judge threw out a lawsuit by a former Republican U.S. Senate hopeful who claimed President Obama was improperly elected because he is not a “natural born citizen.” The suit was filed by H. Brooke Paige. He ran for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination but lost by a 3-1 margin in the Aug. 28 primary. MacGovern lost by a similar margin to Sen. Sanders, the Burlington Free Press noted. LINK

World

Israel Girds for Ground Assault in Gaza After a morning of heavy rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, the Israeli military seemed to be edging closer toward a ground invasion of Gaza on Friday, saying forces were “on standby” for a ground operation. The statement came after scores of rockets were fired into Israel, striking major cities of the south, causing widespread panic and damage. The rapidly escalating confrontation followed an Israel airstrike on Wednesday that killed the top commander of Hamas, The New York Timesreported. LINK

National 

BP to Plead Guilty and Pay $4.5 Billion The British oil company said on Thursday that it had agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and other penalties and to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges related to the rig explosion two years ago that killed 11 people and caused a giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, The New York Times reported. LINK

USPS The Postal Service on Thursday reported a record $15.9 billion net loss for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, bringing the financially troubled agency another step closer to insolvency, The New York Times reported. LINK

Democrats Try to Band Together Senate Democrats are keeping their proposals for curbing the cost of social programs under wraps in order to avoid a split in their ranks as talks on the fiscal cliff begin Friday, Roll Call reported. LINK


Vermont 

GE Layoffs GE Healthcare said Thursday it was laying off about 10 percent of its Vermont workforce, but promised to try to find ‘‘alternate roles’’ for those who lose their jobs. The Burlington Free Press reported that in January GE Healthcare employed about 527 people. The company specializes in information technology for the health care industry, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Governor ’12 Republican gubernatorial challenger Randy Brock outspent Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin more than two to one in his unsuccessful attempt to unseat the first-term governor, according to new campaign finance documents filed Thursday with the Vermont Secretary of State, AP reported. LINK