News Sept. 15

Senator Sanders

Sanders: Dodd is ‘Dead Wrong' Sen. Chris Dodd warned that an interim appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would deprive her of the legitimacy that comes with Senate confirmation.  Sen. Bernie Sanders strongly disagreed, telling The Huffington Post that Dodd is "dead wrong," and saying in a Reuters interview that Dodd's view "makes no sense at all." Roll Call also noted Sanders' support for Warren. LINK, LINK, LINK and LINK

Invest in America Sen. Sanders is backing a plan to allocate $350 billion dollars over a decade to rebuild the country's transportation and technological infrastructure. He would pay for the proposal by not extending income tax breaks due to expire Dec. 31 for people who make more than $200,000 a year. "I don't believe we can afford over a 10-year period to give $700 billion in tax relief to the top 2 percent," Sanders told Vermont Public Radio. LINK

Food Safety Senate leadership could bring the Food Safety Modernization Act to the floor for consideration within the next month, an aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid said. The package approved by the Senate health committee includes an amendment by Sen. Sanders that would allow the FDA to exempt farms engaged in low-risk processing from new regulatory requirements, the Bureau of National Affairs reported. LINK


U.S., Afghan Forces Launch Assault in Afghanistan Hundreds of U.S. and Afghan troops pushed into insurgent-dominated areas west of Kandahar city early Wednesday, hoping to establish a foothold not far from the area where the Taliban movement was born, the Los Angeles Times reported. LINK

Japan Pushes Down Yen The government jumped into currency markets for the first time in more than six years Wednesday morning, intervening to try to stem the yen's sharp rise, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK


Small-Business Bill Advances  Senate Democrats snagged two GOP votes Tuesday to clear the way for a bill aimed at creating jobs in part by giving small businesses easier access to credit, The Washington Post reported. LINK


GOP Unveils Tax Proposal Even as they hammer Democrats for running up record budget deficits, Senate Republicans are rolling out a plan to permanently extend an array of expiring tax breaks that would deprive the Treasury of more than $4 trillion over the next decade, nearly doubling projected deficits over that period unless dramatic spending cuts are made, according to The Washington Post. LINK

Democrats Still Aim to Vote on Taxes Senate Democratic leaders said they were pushing to hold a vote before the November election on extending tax cuts for the middle class only, despite increasing signs of nervousness among some vulnerable incumbent senators, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Democrats Plan to Add Immigration to Defense Bill Democrats will try to add legislation creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrant students who serve in the military or go to college to a broader defense bill in the Senate as early as next week, the Los Angeles Times reported. LINK

Bill Would Repeal Military Gay Law Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing ahead with a measure that would repeal the Pentagon's ban on gays serving openly in the military, setting the stage for a possible confrontation with Republicans, according to The Wall Street Journal. LINK



Earmarks From 1991-2008, the states with the highest per capita earmark amounts included Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont, Alabama, Kentucky and Utah, a study by the Harvard Business School shows. Capitol News Connection said those states all had one or more committee chairmen during that time. In Vermont, the average annual per capita expenditure from earmarks was $54.30. Alaska topped the list at $425.50. LINK

Teachers Strike Averted Winooski teachers and the city's School Board hammered out a tentative contract agreement, averting a threatened teachers strike, The Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Heating Assistance Two of Vermont's emergency heating assistance funds are running on empty. "We'll be turning people away as of Oct. 1 if this doesn't turn around," said Tim Searles, community relations director for the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, which administers the Warmth Program and the Shareheat Fund. The two programs serve more than 10,000 Vermonters statewide each year, according to The Burlington Free Press. LINK