News Sept. 30

Senator Sanders

Sanders Good Advice "A couple of hours before President Obama offered a boffo revival of his 2008 campaign persona during a boisterous rally at the University of Wisconsin, Sen. Bernie Sanders was analyzing why the president was in a political pickle in the first place ... Sanders does not discount what Obama and congressional Democrats achieved through the economic stimulus, health care and financial reform. But he argues that by replacing a mobilizing approach and clear progressive goals with an insider strategy aimed at compromising with a few moderate Republican senators, Obama deactivated his own enthusiasts," columnist E.J. Dionne wrote in The Washington Post. LINK


Health Centers A Burlington Free Press editorial said Sen. Sanders' effort "to make it easier for more people to receive regular checkups and routine care" is just as important as expanding heath insurance coverage.  The editorial noted Sanders' role in securing federal funds for community health centers and agreed with him that expanding primary care will "dramatically reduce costs by treating patients before they become so sick that they wind up in emergency rooms." LINK


Filibusters Sens. Sanders and Patrick Leahy support reforming the Senate's filibuster rules.  Both think Republicans have grossly misused the procedure to block consideration of important legislation. "They have been to a significant degree successful," Sanders told Vermont Public Radio "to make sure that we don't pass the kind of legislation that should be passed and then they go to the American people and say ‘See, Obama hasn't delivered'." LINK  

Northern Border Projects The Northern Border Regional Commission on Wednesday approved a $234,000 grant for Northern Vermont Fiber Optic Connection, and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail will receive $141,150.  Vermont's congressional delegation -- Sens. Leahy and Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch -- played key roles in creating the commission and securing its $1.5 million funding, The Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Renewable Energy A bill introduced yesterday would allow public utilities to issue unlimited bonds to pay for renewable energy projects. Sen. Sanders is a cosponsor of the measure, which would provide consumer-owned public utilities comparable federal tax incentives as "for-profit" utilities, according to the sponsors, the trade publication Environment & Energy Daily reported.


House Lashes Out at China The House of Representatives by a wide margin passed legislation to penalize China's foreign-exchange practices, sending a powerful warning to Beijing but risking a response that could harm U.S. companies and consumers, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK


Drilling Plans Off Cuba Stir Fears of Impact on Gulf NY Times- -Five months after the BP oil spill, a federal moratorium still prohibits new deepwater drilling in the American waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And under longstanding federal law, drilling is also banned near the coast of Florida, The New York Times reported. LINK


Congress Wraps Up Session Early as Midterm Races Loom Congress on Thursday adopted a stopgap spending measure to finance the government through Dec. 3 as lawmakers dashed for an earlier-than-expected exodus from Washington and headed home to focus on the midterm elections, The New York Times reported. LINK


Senate Passes Funding Bill The Senate passed a bill to keep the government funded through the elections, overcoming their last major legislative hurdle Wednesday night before they go to their home states to campaign, Roll Call reported. LINK


Consumer Advocate Seeks to Reassure Bankers Elizabeth Warren, who is overseeing the creation of a federal agency charged with protecting consumers from abusive financial products, told Wall Street executives on Wednesday evening that her relationship with them need not be antagonistic, or even adversarial, according to The New York Times. LINK


Casualty of War Friends and neighbors poured into downtown Swanton on Wednesday to pay respects to a town native, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony "Chuckie" Rosa, 20, who was killed last week in Afghanistan, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK


Vermont Rail Vermont's congressional delegation and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday the release of $50 million in federal stimulus money for upgrades to the Amtrak passenger track from St. Albans to Vernon, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. LINK

Storm Warning Vermont Emergency Management officials are warning people about the possibility of floods and wind damage as a storm threatens the state. The National Weather Service in Burlington has posted a flood watch for all of Vermont and a high wind watch for some areas Thursday and Friday, The Associated Press reported. LINK