News January 25

Senator Sanders

State of the Union - Income Gap President Obama called Tuesday for greater economic fairness. Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed. "The American people are beginning to catch on that there`s something fundamentally wrong in our society when so few have so much and so many have so little," Sanders told Ed Schultz on MSNBC. VIDEO

State of the Union - Jobs "President Obama is clearly right that we must address the continuing jobs crisis in America in an aggressive way. We must do all we can to create millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuels," Sen. Sanders said in the Burlington Free Press.

State of the Union - Social Security Sen. Sanders warned that Obama's call for cutting the dedicated revenue stream for Social Security would put the retirement program in jeopardy. "Long term that could be a disaster for Social Security," he told Keith Olbermann on Current TV. VIDEO

State of the Union - Energy The president declared that "we've subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough." Sanders applauded and later tweeted, "We've got to end all of the tax breaks for the oil companies and coal companies and I'm going to introduce legislation to do just that," WKYC-TV in Cleveland reported. VIDEO

State of the Union - Essay Sen. Sanders on Tuesday announced that Winooski High School senior Jennifer Sikorski won his State of the Union essay contest. "I just tried to stick to stuff I knew the most about," she told WPTZ-TV. VIEW

End Oil Tax Breaks Sen. Sanders pledged Tuesday to introduce legislation that would repeal federal tax breaks and subsidies to the enormously profitable fossil fuel industry, declaring at a Capitol Hill rally that "the most profitable corporations in the world do not need subsidies from the American people," International Business Times, The Huffington Post and Environment & Energy reported. LINK, LINK, LINK

Citizens United "Floridians are getting a firsthand look at how the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has changed presidential elections," Rep. Ted Deutch wrote in a Miami Herald column. He said a constitutional amendment that he and Sen. Sanders proposed would curb corporate campaign cash. LINK

Citizens United On this month's anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision protestors gathered at the Vermont Statehouse in support of a constitutional amendment by Sen. Sanders, The American Prospect reported. LINK

Citizens United In The Huffington Post, Cato's Trevor Burrus responded to a column by Sen. Sanders and Public Citizen's Robert Weissman. "Many who oppose Citizens United do so because they want to silence speech that promotes policies they oppose," he asserted. LINK

World

Aid Workers Rescued U.S. military forces carried out a dramatic helicopter rescue overnight in Somalia, freeing two Western aid workers taken hostage by pirates, the Los Angeles Times reported. President Obama appeared to refer to the mission before the State of the Union address when he told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, "Good job tonight." LINK

National

Economic Fairness President Obama pledged to use government power to balance the scale between America's rich and the rest of the public, The New York Times reported. "We've come too far to turn back now," the president declared in his final State of the Union address before he faces the voters. LINK

Google to Track Users The Web giant announced Tuesday that it plans to follow users' activities across nearly all of its sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its search engine. Consumers won't be able to opt out, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Super PAC's Focus on Hill Third-party organizations, including political parties and super PACs that can raise and spend unlimited corporate and union money, have pumped nearly $9 million into advertising and other independent spending to support or oppose congressional candidates in this election cycle, Federal Election Commission examined by USA Today show. LINK

Senate Rules Majority Leader Harry Reid endorsed President Obama's call to change Senate rules to ensure up-or-down votes on judicial and executive branch nominees, The Hill reported. LINK

Vermont

Vermont Unemployment Falls Vermont's unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1 percent, the lowest statewide rate since October of 2008. The national rate is 8.5 percent, AP reported. LINK

Smart Grid The Vermont Electric Power Company and IBM announced an agreement build a component of Vermont's smart grid to provide the communications capability to relay information back to the utilities about usage, power outages and equipment performance, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

AG's Losing Streak Attorney General William Sorrell lost a legal fight to close Vermont Yankee. Earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a state law capping campaign contributions. Justices also threw out drug company regulations. "The state now has sort of a reputation ... of not having their act together," Patrick Parenteau, a Vermont Law School professor, told AP. LINK