News Nov. 30

Senator Sanders

Congress Returns When Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break this week there would be a legislative pile-up even if the Senate was not debated more troops in Afghanistan and beginning its landmark debate on a health care overhaul. "We have got to address the health care crisis," Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "Every person in this country is entitled to health care in a comprehensive and cost effective way," The New York Times reported. LINK and LINK

Health Care - Public Option With the Senate set to begin debate Monday on health care overhaul, the all-hands-on-deck Democratic coalition that allowed the bill to advance is fracturing already, The Associated Press and Reuters reported. Sen. Sanders said he would be"very reluctant" to support health care reform legislation without a strong public option to contain costs, National Public Radio reported. LINK, LINK, and AUDIO

Health Care - Public Option Health care reform without a public option would be a "modest plus," but if it drops out "that should not be a reason to torpedo changes that will improve millions of lives," USA Today editorialized. Sen. Sanders countered that "at the very least there should be a widely accessible public option. A strong, Medicare-type, premium-based public option is an effective way to keep private insurance companies honest by providing them with real competition." LINK and LINK

Health Care - Public Option "Sanders is testing his clout in the U.S Senate as he holds onto the hope that a public health insurance option will be included in the final health care reform bill," the Times Argus reported. An editorial asserted, "Vermonters and all Americans stand to gain, even from an imperfect bill. Let's hope Sanders does not let ideological purity stand in the way of doing the right thing for Vermonters and all Americans." LINK and LINK

Afghanistan Sen. Sanders bemoaned more war spending in the midst of a deep recession and in a climate when "45,000 people in this country (will) die this year because they don't have access to a doctor," according to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, Washington Post online, CNN, New England Cable News, The Hill and ABC, CBS, NPR and AP radio. "If you're going to have a presence there (Afghanistan), you just can't pass the bill on, as we did in Iraq, to our kids and our grandchildren," Sanders said. "I think that's wrong. I think that's immoral." LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, VIDEO, AUDIO, AUDIO, AUDIO and AUDIO

Federal Reserve Sen. Sanders said on Sunday he will not vote to reconfirm Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, according to The Associated Press and Reuters, despite Foreign Policy Magazine ranking him No. 1 on its "Top 100 Global Thinkers" list, as The Wall Street Journal noted. "If he's the smartest guy in the world, why didn't he do anything to prevent us from sinking into this disaster that Wall Street caused and which he was a part of?" Sanders asked on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Sanders said he would oppose Bernanke's nomination for a second term as Fed chairman, CNBC, CNN radio, Bloomberg TV radio New England Cable News, WRGB-TV in Albany  and Fox 44 reported. LINK, LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO and AUDIO

International

Obama's Speech on Afghanistan to Envision Exit President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials told The New York Times on Sunday. LINK

Defiant Iran Vows to Build Nuclear Plants  Iran angrily refused Sunday to comply with a demand by the United Nations nuclear agency to cease work on a once-secret nuclear fuel enrichment plant, and escalated the confrontation by declaring it would construct 10 more such plants, The New York Times reported. LINK

National

Divided Senate Opens Health Care Debate With the Senate set to begin debate Monday on President Barack Obama's signature domestic issue, the all-hands-on-deck Democratic coalition that allowed the health care reform legislation to advance is coming apart, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Vermont

Vermont Jobs Experts say Vermont has the highest percentage in New England of people who work more than one job. Andy Condon of the Vermont Department of Labor says Vermont is consistently at the top in New England for people holding multiple jobs. Statistics show that about 9.4 percent of the labor force held a second job in 2007.  The New England average is 6.2 percent. The national average is 5.2 percent, The Associated Press reported. LINK