News June 28

Senator Sanders


Health Care President Obama is signaling that he could drop some key principles of his campaign for health care reform to jump-start negotiations, opening the door to broad tax increases on health insurance itself, which is now deducted from taxable income. "Six months after he's sworn in to office, to say, 'I changed my mind on this,' is wrong," Sen. Bernard Sanders said. "It's a regressive way to raise revenues," he added in an interview with the McClatchy Washington Bureau for an article published by The Kansas City Star. LINK


Health Bill Markup “Sanders…gave the most stirring and impassioned presentation…filled with statistics on how the insurance, health care, and pharmaceutical industries are filled with waste, inefficiencies and assertions of fraud…Sanders made such an impact that [Sen. Judd] Gregg felt compelled to offer a short reply, saying that he certainly does not wish to stand in the way of reforming our health care system,” wrote The Huffington Post. LINK


Health Centers Much of Vermont is short on primary care providers. Rutland Regional Medical Center President Thomas Huebner is looking forward to the opening of a federally qualified health care center this summer. Sen. Sanders, who has advocated for additional centers for years, said he won't be satisfied until two more centers are added in Addison and Bennington counties. He said this week that he has had recent success expanding the FQHC program, which will create 126 new health centers nationwide this year, the Rutland Herald reported. LINK


Paramedics Sen. Patrick Leahy is sponsoring legislation that would extend death benefits to relatives of workers at nonprofit ambulance services who die in the line of duty. The legislation is named after veteran paramedic Dale Long, who died June 15 while driving a patient to the hospital. It would affect about 20,000 emergency medical workers around the country and 1,200 in Vermont."They fill an essential need of their communities," said Sen. Sanders, a co-sponsor, according to The Associated Press. "This legislation would give them the respect they deserve, the respect they earned." LINK.


Greenpeace in Burlington “This town a perfect place for Greenpeace to be…This state has led the way in supporting renewable energy development, sustainable building practices, efficiency improvements and alternative forms of transportation. U.S. Sens. Leahy and Sanders, and Rep. Welch have demonstrated their leadership on these issues on many fronts in Washington D.C.” Jarred Cobb wrote in The Burlington Free Press. LINK




Iran Detains British Embassy Employees Iranian authorities have detained several local employees of the British Embassy in Iran, a move that Britain's foreign secretary Sunday called ''harassment and intimidation'' and reflected a hardening of the regime's stance toward the West, The New York Times reported. LINK




Health Care Left-leaning bloggers and grass-roots organizations such as, Health Care for America Now and the Service Employees International Union have singled out Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson, Landrieu, Wyden, Specter and Feinstein for the criticism. "Will Mary Landrieu sell out Louisiana for $1.6 million?" says one Internet ad that suggests a link between contributions she has received from the medical industry and her reluctance to back the creation of a government-sponsored insurance option, The Washington Post reported. LINK


Climate Change The House on Friday approved global warming legislation 219 to 212, with 44 Democrats defecting. The moment the House approved the bill, Obama took the opportunity to start increasing pressure on the Senate, where the legislation faces tough opposition. He had already recorded and distributed the text of his weekly Saturday address, on the urgency of doing something about health care this year, but he pulled it back and substituted a message focusing on the climate victory, The New York Times reported. LINK





Paralyzed Vet Honored with Parade Pfc. Andrew Parker was hailed as a hero at a welcome home ceremony he had to watch from a wheelchair. The 21-year-old U.S. Army cavalry scout was paralyzed in November when a roadside bomb blew up the vehicle he was driving on patrol in Afghanistan. Saturday, after months of rehabilitation in Veterans Administration hospitals and a community fundraising effort that added wheelchair-accessible accommodations to his parents’ house, the wounded warrior came home, The Associated Press reported. LINK


Defense Contract Could Create 300 Jobs A Pentagon contract, for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that was to be awarded Friday was delayed until June 30, according to the president of the Israel-based company that operated Plasan Composites in Bennington. The contract for up to 5,400 of the specially outfitted vehicles could create as many as 300 new jobs, mostly in the Bennington area, the Banner reported. LINK


Auto Registration Fees Going Up Vermont drivers will start seeing a few changes in their car registrations starting this week. The registration fee will increase from $60 to $65 a year, and car owners will get one registration sticker instead of two. The Burlington Free Press says the sticker change is expected to save the state $60,000 a year, AP reported. LINK