News April 10

Senator Sanders

Obama’s ‘Disappointing’ Budget Sen. Sanders and leaders from senior, labor and women’s groups rallied outside the White House on Tuesday to oppose Social Security cuts proposed by President Obama. “I am extremely disappointed,” Sanders told The Associated Press. “Anybody in the Congress who believes in cutting these … benefits … may well not be returning to Washington,” Sanders said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. “We're not going to balance the budget on the backs of elderly, disabled vets, the sick or the children,” Sanders said on Current TV. LINK, VIDEO, VIDEO,

Obama’s ‘Betrayal’ President Obama’s proposed cuts “are a betrayal that stung so badly that Sen. Sanders literally took to the streets, joining left-wing activists for a protest outside the White House,” according to The Washington Post. “When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he said that he would not cut Social Security. We want the president to remember what he said and not go back on his word!” Sanders shouted into a microphone. Calling Obama’s offer “nuts,” Sanders went on: “The White House tells us they want to defend the middle class — that’s their mantra. If you want to defend the middle class you don’t cut Social Security, you don’t cut Medicare, and you don’t cut benefits for disabled vets,” LINK

Obama’s Granny Tax Sen. Sanders denounced the White House proposal to change how cost-of-living increases are calculated in order to cut Security by $130 billon over a decade while generating an additional $100 billion in revenue by moving taxpayers into higher tax brackets more quickly as their income rises. “This is not a minor tweak, as its proponents contend,” Sanders said in Congressional Quarterly. “Under Obama’s proposal, according to the Social Security Administration, 65-year-old retirees would lose more than $650 a year by their 75th birthday, and more than $1,000 a year would be cut from their benefits once they reach 85.” LINK

Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner Senate Republicans will break bread tonight with President Obama at the White House. On Tuesday, Sanders was standing outside the gates rebuking Obama for selling out seniors. “That jarring juxtaposition captures the upside-down political dynamic of Obama’s new budget proposal … [and] its … highly controversial plan to trim Social Security cost-of-living increases,” Politico reported. LINK

Progressive ‘Outrage’ The president's plan continues to draw outrage from progressive groups. Sen. Sanders joined at least 13 groups to oppose the president's cut to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare benefits, MSNBC reported on Morning Joe. “Honestly I think the White House would like to see more of this progressive outrage and see more liberals complaining about what he is proposing,” Meet the Press host David Gregory commented. VIDEO

Tax Profitable Corporations “When one out of four major profitable corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes we know how we can deal with deficit reduction in a way that is fair. The White House tells us they want to defend the middle class. Well if you really want to defend the middle class you don't cut Social Security, and you don't cut Medicare and you don't cut benefits," Sanders said in a United Press International report.

Sign Sanders’ Petition President Obama’s plan to include Social Security cuts in his budget is well summed up by Sen. Sanders as a “bitter disappointment.” Sanders launched a petition opposing the president’s approach and it had attracted tens of thousands of signatures within hours of White House confirmation of the president’s plan, John Nichols wrote in The Capital (Wis.) Times. LINK

Rove on Sanders and Obama The president’s proposal drew bad reviews “mainly from Democrats,” Karl Rove said on Fox News. Rove added that Sanders announced he would lead an effort to oppose the president's entitlement reforms. Half the House Democrats signed a letter opposing the president's reforms, and even the generally loyal ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Chris van Hollen, said he had concerns. VIDEO

Too Big to Fail Two U.S. lawmakers are going after Wall Street's big banks. Sen. Sanders and Rep. Brad Sherman are calling on the Treasury Department to break up banks deemed too big to fail, CBS Radio News reported. Sanders’ legislation would give the Treasury Department 90 days to identify commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and insurance companies whose “failure would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either the financial system or the United States economy without substantial government assistance,” the Rutland Herald reported. LINK, AUDIO

‘Good for Sanders’ on Banks “It is good for Sanders to lead the charge against the banks, who resist any effort to regulate their activities or to erode their profits. The banks have acted as criminal enterprises, pillaging the nation’s economy, but with a gloss of respectability purchased with the tens of millions of dollars they earn,” the Rutland Herald declared in an editorial. “Most members of Congress couch their language in ways that don’t annoy their big contributors. Sanders doesn’t worry about that. He’s happy to offend the banks. Certainly, someone needs to challenge them.” LINK

VA Claims Backlog Discussing a claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of Americans congratulated Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for his efforts to fix the problem. “We need to see Bernie Sanders on the Senate side step up and talk about the outrage we have heard across the country,” Reickhoff added. In the same interview, Miller said “we have given the department everything it has asked for … Something is breaking down somewhere.” VIDEO

Vermont Delegation Pay Members of Vermont’s congressional delegation are joining President Obama, some administration officials and a small group of other lawmakers in giving away some of their income in response to federal spending cuts. The action follows a similar move last week by Obama, who will return 5 percent of his $400,000 base salary to the Treasury to support federal workers. More than 1 million federal workers soon will be furloughed because of automatic sequestration spending cuts that took effect March 1. “Federal workers have not seen an increase in a number of years in their wages, and I think that it’s important for us to express solidarity with them,” Sanders told the Burlington Free Press. LINK


N. Korea American and South Korean troops increased alert levels on Wednesday as South Korea’s foreign minister warned that North Korea could launch its medium-range Musudan missile “any time from now.” A successful test of the missile would demonstrate the North’s potential to hit not only South Korea but also all of Japan and targets as far away as the American military bases on the Pacific island of Guam, The New York Times reported. LINK


Support Grows for Vote on Gun-Control Bill Senate Democrats are expected to defeat on Thursday a Republican effort to block gun-control legislation, paving the way for the full chamber to take up the issue for the first time since the December shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. A bipartisan group of negotiators working on expanding background checks for gun buyers also appeared poised to announce a deal at a joint news conference Wednesday. An aide close to the talks said Tuesday night that they were working out legislative language, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Obama Nominees Slide through Senate Confirmation Hearings President Obama’s three nominees to run Medicare and Medicaid, the Energy Department and the Office of Management and Budget sailed through their separate Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday and appeared to be on track to win approval from the committees, though none of the panels voted on the nominations, The New York Times reported. LINK

F.B.I. Looking into Allegations McConnell’s Campaign Was Wiretapped The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was looking into allegations by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky that political opponents bugged his campaign headquarters, The New York Times reported. LINK


Global Warming Two winter Olympics medalists from Vermont are among the signers of a letter to President Obama saying that due to climate change ‘‘winter is in trouble.’’ Snowboarders Lindsay Jacobellis and Hanna Teter are among 75 winter athletes, including Olympians, X Games champions and other champion riders, skiers and climbers joining in highlighting their concern. They say the worries are especially acute in states like Vermont that are dependent on winter tourism, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Dairy Farms Dairy farms are ineligible for a temporary visa program aimed at seasonal workers and farmers say they have a hard time hiring dependable local workers to milk their cows so they rely on immigrants. Legislation to create a three-year visitor program for dairy farm workers, which could be extended another three years, was announced by Rep. Peter Welch, AP reported. LINK