News June 2

Senator Sanders


Single Payer Health Care Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is set to meet with single-payer health care advocates this week. “Sen. Baucus has met with thousands of people, representing hundreds of views on how to reform our health care system,” a Baucus spokesman said. Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, plans to urge Baucus to give serious consideration to single-payer bills by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. John Conyers, the Great Falls Tribune reported. LINK


Health Care Town Meeting Sen. Sanders held a town-hall meeting in Burlington to promote the single-payer system for healthcare. As hundreds of people attended the town hall meeting, fewer than a dozen pro-life Vermonters rallied outside, WCAX and Fox 44 reported. VIDEO and VIDEO 


Progressives Summit The Campaign for America's Future holds a conference to form ``America's Future Now.'' Tonight, Sens. Richard Durbin and Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Donna Edwards host the awards gala honoring AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, The Associated Press reported.


Clean Water Lake Champlain may look beautiful from a distance, but there's plenty of work to be done to clean it up, according to Fox 44."It’s our drinking water, its recreation, its hundreds of millions of dollars from the tourist industry…[and] it’s clearly our moral responsibility," Sen. Sanders said. Vermont representatives on Monday announced $39-million in federal stimulus funds that will go toward waste water treatment projects across Vermont. The Rutland Herald said stimulus funds will help keep rainwater out of the sewer in Springfield and make Bellows Falls smell better. LINK and LINK


Oil Prices Oil prices rose to about $68 a barrel in early trading on Monday, hitting another new high for the year. “There is mounting evidence that excessive speculation, not supply and demand, is the cause for the recent run-up in oil prices," Sanders said in The Star newspaper in Toronto, Canada and in a blog at The Hill. LINK and LINK


Teaching Farming The Hartland Farm Fest included a scything tutorial, a compost toss that entailed shoveling fertilizer into a bucket about 10 feet away and a visit from Sen. Sanders, who said he supported Hartland's effort to educate school children about local agriculture.  “This is exactly the direction we should be going as a state and a nation,” said Sanders, as he munched on a mash of granola and blueberries according to the Valley News. LINK


Strolling of the Heifers The Strolling of the Heifers promotes programs to get youth interested in agriculture. Recently, Sen. Sanders arranged to have $89,000 sent to the program to help at-risk youth. Sanders will be in Brattleboro on Saturday to participate in the event's celebrity milking contest, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. LINK




Geithner Softens Tone on Beijing In his first visit to China as Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner is applauding Beijing’s efforts to stimulate its economy, trying to lay the foundation for future negotiations and promising that the United States will press for China to have a bigger role in the management of the global economy. He is also trying to address the concerns of some Chinese officials and economists about the soaring American budget deficits. China is now the largest holder of United States government debt, The New York Times reported. LINK


More Americans Turning to Peace Corps With a mix of idealism and pragmatism, increasing numbers of Americans are turning to the Peace Corps. Some, see it as a training opportunity at a time when job prospects at home are bleak. Others have been inspired by President Obama's campaign call to public service, and his frequent mention of the Peace Corps as an American institution that shows "our commitment to working with other nations to pursue the ideals of opportunity, equality and freedom that have made us who we are," the Los Angeles Times reported. LINK


Climate Talks Negotiators from 181 countries meeting in Bonn, Germany, began work on the first draft of a new global warming treaty Monday. Among dozens of unresolved issues was whether developing economies must commit to control their greenhouse gas emissions and whether their commitments would be legally binding or voluntary. The U.S. delegation wanted the text to put all countries on a more equal footing, requiring every country to take action to fight climate change according to its capability, The Associated Press reported. LINK




Senators Head to White House Meeting on Health Care President Obama will meet with influential Senate Democrats on Tuesday to discuss overhauling health care, as the White House releases a report asserting that revamping the system would increase the income of a typical family of four by $2,600 in 2020, and by $10,000 in 2030. The Democrats on two Senate committees that are drafting health legislation have been invited to the White House to meet with Obama, hours before he leaves for the Middle East and Europe, The New York Times reported. LINK


GM General Motors hopes to follow the lead of fellow U.S. automaker Chrysler by transforming its most profitable assets into a new company in just 30 days and emerging from bankruptcy protection soon after, AP reported. The Obama administration has said it won't meddle in the company's daily affairs, but lawmakers aren't being so shy. The areas of potential concern to lawmakers range from proposed plant and dealership closings to longer-term plans for more fuel-efficient cars, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK and LINK


Sotomayor on Capitol Hill Appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor is getting her first chance to make an impression on senators who will vote on her nomination to the Supreme Court, with a marathon set of Capitol Hill meet-and-greets that kicks off what could be a long debate. Sotomayor's schedule Tuesday is packed with half-hour meetings — known as "courtesy calls" — that are as important for the courtly tone they set for the debate as they are for offering a few moments of candid conversation with the nominee, AP reported. LINK


Banks May Soon Leave Bailout Program Since the government pressed billions of dollars in taxpayer support on the nation’s banks, several strong institutions have been pushing to give it back. Now a few of them may get the go-ahead next week, a crucial step in disentangling themselves from Washington, according to The New York Times. LINK


War Funds Top House and Senate Democrats reached a tentative agreement on an almost $100 billion war funding bill Monday, including a generous new line of credit for the International Monetary Fund. At the core of the measure is President Barack Obama's war funding request, which included $76 billion for Pentagon operations, AP reported. LINK


Byrd's Hospital Stay Extended Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who has been hospitalized since mid-May, has contracted a bacterial infection and will remain in the hospital for now, his office said yesterday, according to The Washington Post. LINK




Leahy on Afghanistan Fresh off a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy says the deployment of Vermont National Guard members there could put them in harm's way, The Associated Press revealed. About 1,800 members of the Guard were told last year they could be sent to Afghanistan. Leahy said he intends to visit the troops when they're training in Kansas and Louisiana. A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy said he is working to ensure the guardsmen have the equipment they need, The Burlington Free Press reported. LINK


Border Crossings Traffic generally moved smoothly across the northern and southern borders Monday, the first day of stricter identification requirements for Americans re-entering the country from Canada or Mexico. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires travelers to have a passport or similar document to enter the United States. The program evolved out of security considerations following the 9/11 attacks on the United States and is designed to ensure that border agents know who is entering the country, AP reported. LINK


Douglas Vetoes Budget Gov. Douglas on Monday became the first governor in Vermont history to veto a state budget bill, setting the stage for lawmakers to try to override his veto in a special session that already had been set for Tuesday, AP reported. LINK