News June 20

Senator Sanders


Health Care The staggering cost of a draft plan in the Senate, about $1.6 trillion, sent lawmakers back to the drawing board. "Our problem is not that we're spending too little money. The problem is we are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars," Sanders said in an interview with the Bennington Banner. "A single-payer system has met enormous opposition from the insurance companies and the drug companies who have enormous influence over what goes on here in Washington," he added. LINK


Public Option President Obama is struggling to hold his party together as he wages his biggest fight yet over fixing health care. President Obama said, "I can't bring about the change I promised by myself in the Oval Office." The President is pushing for a so-called public option, a government-run program that would compete with private insurers. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont said, "In terms of public policy a strong public option is absolutely right in terms of politics of doing what the American people want. A strong public option is what we gotta do," NBC News reported. LINK


Single Payer “Senator Sanders and a few other visionary progressives in Congress are continuing to fight for single-payer health care. They need your help. Please sign Sanders' petition urging Congress to pass a bill that would provide "quality, comprehensive health care for all Americans" and tell your elected reps you expect them to do the same,” Sarah Jaffe blogged for The Nation. LINK


Oil Prices Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is seeking to limit debate on a tourism-promotion bill with a vote Monday, after failing to reach an agreement Friday on amendments. Reid said Republicans had sought four amendments dealing with the Troubled Assets Relief Program, but that they balked at allowing a vote on an amendment from Sen. Bernard Sanders to encourage stricter enforcement against speculation in oil prices, Congressional Quarterly reported. LINK




Iran Iran's opposition leader received another stern warning Saturday not to encourage his supporters to take to the streets a day after the country's top leader sought to end the deepening election crisis by effectively declaring President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner. Supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi had planned a massive rally in Tehran, The Associated Press reported. LINK




Health Care House Democrats on Friday answered President Obama’s call for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system, unveiling a bill that they said would cover 95 percent of Americans. But they said they did not know how much it would cost and had not decided how to pay for it. The proposal would establish a new public health insurance plan to compete with private plans, according to The New York Times. LINK


Primary Care As the debate on overhauling the nation's health-care system exploded into partisan squabbling this week, virtually everyone still agreed on one point: There are not enough primary-care doctors to meet current needs With 248 primary-care physicians per 100,000 residents, Washington fares far better than the national average of 88 doctors per 100,000 people (Maryland has 113; Virginia, 88). Nonetheless, with an average wait of 30 days to see a family doctor, Washington ranks third among cities with the longest wait times, The Washington Post reported. LINK


Sotomayor Quits All-Women Group Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor resigned from an elite women’s-only group Friday under pressure from Republican senators who suggested her membership could violate judicial codes barring judges from belonging to discriminatory groups. LINK




Vermont Jobless Rate Unchanged The Labor Department reported Friday that 48 states and the District of Columbia saw employment conditions deteriorate last month. On the state level, eight set record-highs and only two — Nebraska and Vermont — did not report increases. The fallout from the longest recession since World War II, was the worst in Michigan as automakers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Its unemployment rate rose to 14.1 percent, The Associated Press reported. LINK


Guard Trains for Afghanistan Hundreds of National Guard soldiers preparing for an expected yearlong deployment are getting a taste of Afghanistan – in the hills of Vermont. In a heavily wooded area along the Jericho-Underhill line, about 10 miles northeast of Burlington, the Guard has set up a mock Afghan village, where small groups of guardsmen are learning to interact with Afghan leaders and prepare for potential clashes with Taliban insurgents, AP reported. LINK