Nationwide, hunger is at an all-time high. Last year, almost 45 million people - or one in every seven Americans - received food stamps, more than at any other time in our nation's history. In Vermont, more than one in eight households do not have the money to fully meet their food needs at all times, according to Hunger Free Vermont. More than 12,000 Vermont children depend on food shelves each month and almost 10,000 Vermont seniors face the threat of hunger. So to Sen. Bernie Sanders, it is "unconscionable" that cuts in a federal emergency hunger program have resulted in a 50 percent reduction in food supplies from that program for the Vermont Foodbank.
A major bloc of 29 senators took a strong stand against any cuts to Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal. "We will oppose including Social Security cuts for future or current beneficiaries in any deficit reduction package," the senators said in a letter circulated by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Read the letter here (pdf).
A $1.2 million expansion of the Plainfield Health Center was dedicated on Monday. In the past decade, Vermont has gone from having two Federally Qualified Health Centers to eight, including 47 sites where more than 120,000 Vermonters get primary health care, dental care, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs. Nearly one in five Vermonters now get primary care from a community health center.
A Roman Catholic priest from Vermont delivered the daily prayer after the Senate was gaveled to order on Thursday. "We pray for these our elected officials," the Rev. Marcel Rainville prayed. "Guide them with good judgment in the exercise of their duties." Father Rainville was recommended for the role of guest chaplain by Sen. Bernie Sanders. "He is a kind and gentle human being and is much beloved in our state," the senator said of Father Rainville.