News June 16

Senator Sanders


Health Care Sen. Sanders told MSNBC that “the overwhelming majority of the American people want a public option similar to Medicare.” On CNN Radio, he called the idea of taxing health benefits to help pay for a health care overhaul “regressive” and “unfair.” Dr. Deborah told Vermont Business Magazine that Sanders’ single-payer bill is “the most fiscally conservative model being proposed.” Deborah Burger, R.N., wrote on The Huffington Post that the reform debate is about who benefits financially from “the best health care money can buy.” LINK, AUDIO and VIDEO


Oil Prices Soaring oil and gasoline prices prompted Sen. Bernie Sanders to introduce legislation last week directing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission "to stop sudden or unreasonable fluctuations or unwarranted changes in prices," according to Reuters.  Critics of limits say fewer speculators willing to absorb risk could make markets less efficient, boost costs for some businesses and lead to higher prices for consumers, the analysis in The Guardian added. LINK


Replacement Buses Four buses in Addison County will be replaced by the end of this year, thanks to a share of $3.9 million in federal stimulus money headed to the state.  Two local nonprofits were among a list of nine Vermont public transit providers that will share in the federal grants announced by the state’s congressional delegation, according to the Addison Independent. LINK


Cabot Celebrates Cabot Creamery celebrated the farmer cooperative’s 90th birthday Saturday with more than 500 people attending a “Dairy Festival,” The Caledonian-Record reported. Bernie Sanders proclaimed the company a wonderful home-grown success story. “One hundred percent of the profits from Cabot go to our farmers,” Sanders told the crowd.


Town Meetings A “large and enthusiastic crowd” greeted Sen. Sanders at a town meeting in Orleans, according to the Barton Chronicle. About 75 people gathered in Richford for another town meeting with the senator, according to the County Courier. “Let’s keep the fight going,” Sanders said.


Border Crossing A 29-year-old Derby woman wants to know why she is being singled out for greater scrutiny than others crossing the border into the United States. Jessica Duquette said she was taken out of her car, searched and handcuffed to a bench as she returned Thursday from a business trip to Canada. Duquette said she contacted state Sen. Vincent Illuzzi and the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders, The Associated Press reported. LINK




Iran Vote Recount Iran's powerful Guardian Council is ready to recount specific ballot boxes in last week's disputed presidential elections, a council spokesman said Tuesday. The results from last Friday's election showing a landslide victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked Tehran's worst violence in 10 years — including seven reportedly killed Monday during clashes. LINK




Health Care Costs An analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office raised the hurdles for draft legislation in the Senate just as its Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee planned to begin voting on Wednesday. The office concluded that a plan by the committee’s Democratic leaders, Senators Kennedy and Dodd, would reduce the number of uninsured only by a net 16 million people. Even if the bill became law, the budget office said, 36 million people would remain uninsured in 2017, according to The New York Times. LINK


Sebelius Slams Single-Payer As lawmakers on Capitol Hill hammer out legislation to overhaul the nation's health care system this year, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that a single-payer option is not on the table. "This is not a trick. This is not single-payer," Sebelius told National Public Radio. "That's not what anyone is talking about — mostly because the president feels strongly, as I do, that dismantling private health coverage for the 180 million Americans that have it, discouraging more employers from coming into the marketplace, is really the bad, you know, is a bad direction to go." LINK


Housing Rebounds Home construction climbed in May far above expectations, with single-family starts rising a third month in a row and giving more evidence of stability in the housing sector. Housing starts increased 17 percent to a seasonally adjusted 532,000 annual rate compared to the prior month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Building permits rose and apartment construction also surged, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK


Calif. Spurned by U.S. The Obama administration has turned back pleas for emergency aid from one of the biggest remaining threats to the economy -- the state of California. Top state officials have gone hat in hand to the administration, armed with dire warnings of a fast-approaching "fiscal meltdown" caused by a budget shortfall. Federal officials are worried that a bailout of California would set off a cascade of demands from other states, The Washington Post reported. LINK




Biden Asked to Speed Stimulus Vermont's congressional delegation plus Gov. Douglas want the federal government to speed up both the rule- and decision-making for federal economic stimulus funds for e-state investments. What good will it do a northern state to have dollars provided for outdoor work in December? the quartet ask in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, according to The Burlington Free Press. LINK


State Workers The state of Vermont is looking for a few good workers - to retire early. State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding sent early retirement incentive offers to about 1,000 state workers, hoping that 300 of them will agree to retire early, in the process saving the state money and potentially helping avert more layoffs, The Associated Press reported. LINK


Kiss and Make Up The Burlington City Council approved Mayor Bob Kiss’ departmental appointments Monday night. Former council President Kurt Wright spoke from the floor and advised the council to support Kiss’ choices, saying “to micromanage the administration is a mistake,” according to The Burlington Free Press. LINK