News July 31

Senator Sanders

Obama Betrayal Liberal senators are "holding their breath," worried that President Barack Obama will capitulate to Republican demands for a large spending-cuts-only package in the final push to avoid a debt default by the Tuesday deadline. Sen. Bernie Sanders said giving in to Republican demands for deep budget cuts under the threat of not paying the nation's bills would set a "horrendous precedent," Roll Call reported. LINK

Who Should Win? "Sometimes the media thinks this is a game between the Red sox and the Yankees. It's not. This is going to impact millions of senior citizens, children, veterans, and the sick. So the question is not who wins or loses, it's, who should win," Sanders told MSNBCVIDEO

14th Amendment Sen. Tom Harkin made a plea on the Senate floor Saturday for President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress fails to strike a deal before the Aug. 2 default deadline. Sen. Sanders agreed. "If we can't get together the president will have to take that responsibility," Sanders said, according to ABC News online. "What makes this preferable is that we would prevent default while also preventing devastating cuts," Sanders said in Sunday's Times Argus and Rutland Herald.  LINK and LINK

Post Offices Vermont's congressional delegation is opposing a U.S. Postal Service proposal that would close 14 post offices in Vermont. The 14 are among 3,600 the Postal Service might close to cope with declining finances, the Burlington Free Press reported on Sunday. LINK

Gas Mileage Sen. Sanders is hailing an agreement between the Obama administration and U.S. automakers. The new plan will increase the average miles per gallon for American cars to 54.5 mpg by the year 2025.Sanders calls that a huge step forward for saving consumers money at the pump and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, WCAX-TV reported on Saturday. VIDEO 

National

Social Security on Obama's Chopping Block A deal that President Obama and Senate Republican Leader McConnell were discussing would immediately raise the debt ceiling by about $1 trillion, cut spending by about the same amount, and set up a new bipartisan committee that would work to find deeper cuts in exchange for a second debt limit increase that would extend through the 2012 election. A failure of the new committee to win enactment of its proposal could then set off automatic spending cuts across the board, including to entitlement programs, The New York Times reported. LINK

Obama's Tilts Right However the debt limit showdown ends, one thing is clear: under pressure from Congressional Republicans, President Obama has moved rightward on budget policy, deepening a rift within his party heading into the next election, The New York Times said. Republicans have changed the terms of the national debate.  LINK

Vermont

Smart Grid Vermont utility regulators and civil libertarians say they're worried a new technology designed to reduce electric use could threaten the privacy of Vermonters. .Some Vermont utilities are preparing to use so-called "smart grid" technology that is designed to help consumers and utilities better manage, and ultimately save, electricity, AP reported. LINK