News April 1

Senator Sanders

Health Care Signup Surges Millions of Americans logged onto the federal health insurance website in the run-up to Monday’s enrollment deadline. Even more Americans would get access to care if Republican governors would agree to expand Medicaid at no cost to their states, Sen. Bernie Sanders told Ed Schultz Monday on MSNBC. Sanders said Democrats should “turn the tables” on Republicans and ask “what kind of party would deny working families” health insurance. VIDEO

Global Warming: Worst Still to Come The United Nation on Monday released its most recent report on climate change. The dire message was that global warming already is having a severe impact and is projected to aggravate poverty, particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger. “The debate really is over,” Sen. Sanders was quoted in a Brattleboro Reformer editorial. “We can no longer ignore warnings that climate change already is happening and that unless we act in a bold way the worst is yet to come.” Sanders called the report a wake-up call. He has introduced legislation to tax the carbon and methane emissions that cause global warming, WFFF-TV and WVNY-TV reported. LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO

U.S. and Canada Border Crossing Backups Two of Vermont’s traffic-choked border crossings – Derby Line and Highgate Springs – are among ports of entry across the country that will get additional border patrol officers by the fall of 2015. Long lines at Vermont’s land-border ports of entry, exacerbated by a staffing shortage, have frustrated travelers and hurt Vermont businesses. “We’re pleased that Customs and Border Protection is addressing a very serious problem,” Sen. Sanders said in the Burlington Free Press. “If we’re going to move traffic across the border at reasonable speeds and protect the nation, we need adequate staffing.” LINK

Democracy vs. Oligarchy Wealthy elites bankrolling right-wing Republican candidates are accelerating America’s move away from democracy toward oligarchy, Sen. Sanders wrote for The Huffington Post. “Clearly, if we are to retain the fundamentals of American democracy, we need to overturn the Supreme Court decision,” Sanders said, adding that the nation “must move toward public funding of elections.” LINK

Inequality for All Sen. Sanders on Sunday hosted a free screening of the documentary “Inequality for All” and an interactive town meeting discussion on the topic of income inequality. The documentary, which debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, was shown at locations in Bennington, Brattleboro, Middlebury, and St. Johnsbury, The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass., reported. LINK  

House ’14, Pennsylvania Sen. Sanders endorsed state Sen. Daylin Leach in his Pennsylvania congressional bid, Roll Call and The Huffington Post reported. Leach is competing in the May 20 primary to replace Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who is running for governor. Reps. Raul M. Grijalva, Keith Ellison and Alan Grayson also endorsed the progressive candidate over a former member of Congress who backed cuts in Social Security. LINK, LINK

House ’14, California Marianne Williamson, a candidate for a California seat in Congress, is running on a progressive platform which is "Bernie Sanders-like in its scope," according to Communities Digital NewsLINK  

House ’14, Vermont With the second-fewest residents of any state, Vermont has a single congressional district. Since 1991, the lone seat has been held by left-of-center politicians. First was Sanders, who went on to serve in the Senate. Since 2007, the House seat has been held by Peter Welch, according to an Associated Press summary of U.S. congressional districts. LINK 

Senate ’14 The Democratic National Committee plans to shell out $60 million this year, nine times more than the 2010 midterms, to get voters who tend to cast ballots only in presidential election years to turn up at the polls, Newsmax reported. Democrats are fighting to retain their 55-45 majority in the Senate, which includes independents Sens. Sanders and Angus King. LINK   

Crossfire Amid all the talk about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, CNN has placed Crossfire on hiatus. The last time Crossfire aired was just two days after the flight vanished. The hosts discussed Obamacare with Sen. Sanders and former Sen. Rick Santorum, according to The Washington Post online. LINK


Russian Prime Minister Visits Crimea Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held a government meeting in Crimea on Monday, Reuters reported. The Ukrainian government denounced the visit a few hours after the latest round of crisis talks between Russia and the United States ended inconclusively. Russia said it had pulled some troops back from near Ukraine's eastern border, a move that could ease some of the tension. LINK

Turkish Government Wins in Local Elections The Turkish government's decisive victory in local elections Monday provided a brief respite to months of political and economic turbulence, triggering a market rally despite opposition allegations of ballot-rigging and warnings of a looming crackdown against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's detractors, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Paris Elects First Female Mayor, A Socialist Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist who immigrated to France as a child, has been elected the first female mayor of Paris, The Washington Post reported. LINK


CIA Covered Up Torture, Senate Report Says  A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques. The report documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to The Washington Post.LINK

Health Web Glitch Prevents Users From Enrolling A second software glitch preventing users from creating new accounts took offline on Monday as the site struggled to stay open during this year's final day of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Senate Reins in Overpriced Doctor Fees The Senate approved a bill Monday that calls for finding reductions of hundreds of millions of dollars in what the government spends for physician fees on overpriced medical procedures. The measure follows years of criticism of the way that Medicare, and in turn the entire U.S. health market, decides how much to pay a physician for performing a procedure, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Official: Safety Agency Lacked Critical G.M. Data Acting administrator of the nation's top auto safety regulator David Friedman will testify Tuesday before a House oversight subcommittee that General Motors had critical information that would have helped identify the Chevrolet Cobalt ignition system's defect which has been linked to several deaths and has triggered a major recall, The New York Times reported. LINK

FBI Investigates High-Speed Trading The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday announced the launch of a wide-ranging investigation into high-speed trading on the stock market, The Wall Street Journal reported. Investigators plan to see whether some financial firms are acting on market information unavailable to other traders and whether they receive preferential treatment that disadvantages other investors. LINK

Yellen: Fed Still Focused on Employment In her first public speech, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Monday that Americans have plenty of reason to feel as if the economy is still in recession with jobs hard to find and wages barely rising, and that the central bank remains determined to improve the situation, The New York Times reported. LINK

House Republicans Budget House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is expected to unveil a budget that would give people age 55 and younger a choice between keeping traditional government-run Medicare or receiving a subsidy to buy private health insurance, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Federal Worker Morale Declining Three Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter last week asking the Government Accountability Office to examine recent declines in federal-worker morale and how to reverse the trend, The Washington Post reported. LINK

FCC Bans Ad Sales Pacts with Same-Market Stations The Federal Communications Commission voted Monday to bar companies from controlling two or more TV stations in the same local market by using a single advertising sales staff, The Wall Street Journal reported. There are now 128 joint ad sales agreements between TV stations across the country in part because of a wave of consolidation in the broadcast industry. LINK

Report: Caterpillar Avoided $2.4 Billion in Taxes A report produced by the Senate subcommittee on investigations found that Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, allegedly avoided paying more than $2.4 billion in U.S. taxes over a decade by striking a deal with Swiss tax authorities, The Guardian reported. Senate investigators refused to say whether they believe the company broke U.S. tax law, but the elaborate accounting strategy appears to take so-called 'transfer pricing' practices to new extremes. LINK

Ways & Means Chairman Camp to Retire U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp announced Monday will retire at the end of his term, The Hill reported. LINK

Kochs Spend $7 Million in North Carolina The Koch brothers-backed group Americans for Prosperity has already dropped over $7 million on the airwaves barraging Sen. Kay Hagan, The Washington Post reported. North Carolina accounts for 44 percent of the more than $16 million the conservative group has shelled out in this election cycle.  LINK

Democrats Face ‘Disaster’ Over the last four midterm elections, turnout by young people, Hispanics and unmarried women fell by more than Republican-leaning men, whites and those over 65. “I’m worried this could be a disaster,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. Democrats have begun efforts to mitigate the damage, with their House and Senate campaign committees tripling investments in voter mobilization since the last election. LINK


Scabs Authorized After Bus Drivers Reject Contract Bus drivers on Monday unanimously rejected the latest three-year contract proposal from Chittenden County Transportation Authority, the Burlington Free Press reported. Earlier Monday, commissioners voted 12-1 to authorize company management to seek temporary drivers so that service can be restored amid the strike by the drivers’ union, Vermont Public Radio reported.  LINK, LINK

Vermont Propane Refund Case Vermont's attorney general has settled a consumer protection complaint against Irving Oil for around $425,000. The settlement includes $166,000 to Vermont consumers, $160,000 to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and $100,000 to the state, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Vermont Health Enrollment The Department of Vermont Health Access said that as of Monday morning, 46,800 Vermonters had signed up for an insurance plan directly through Vermont Health Connect, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Medical Marijuana on the Rise The number of patients using medical marijuana has risen 90 percent from last year to more than 1,000 people, the Burlington Free Press reported. Under Vermont law, residents can receive medical marijuana if they have a debilitating medical condition. LINK

Lake Champlain Cleaning State officials recently released a plan to clean-up Lake Champlain and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has asked for public comment, AP reported. The plan includes the targeting of water bodies across the state, including rivers in the Southern Champlain Basin. LINK