Our nation’s approach to children is “nothing less than a disgrace and an international embarrassment,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday, announcing a proposal to provide 1 million jobs for young people over the next two years. Sanders also introduced an initiative on Tuesday aimed at making solar energy more accessible to low-income families. On Friday he asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate “ridiculous prices” for cable and broadband services. In the beginning of the week, Sanders addressed a pair of growing financial crises. He applauded the people of Greece for rejecting more austerity and backed bankruptcy protections to enable Puerto Rico to "restructure its debt in a rational way that does not harm its people, ordinary investors or pension funds in the United States."
Senators Call on FCC to Probe Cable, Broadband Prices
Sanders and three colleagues on Friday asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate “ridiculous prices” for cable and broadband services. “Consumers in our country have little or no choice in their Internet and cable provider. As a result, these companies are able to charge ridiculous prices and add hidden fees onto a customer’s bill,” Sanders wrote in the letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The senators said an investigation by the commission would give consumers a better understanding of cable and broadband prices. They also said it would help policymakers evaluate the impact of corporate mergers, such as a proposed deal involving Charter, Time-Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Read more here.
America’s Approach to Children an ‘International Embarrassment’
Sanders on Wednesday called our nation’s approach to children “nothing less than a disgrace and an international embarrassment.” Sanders made the remarks in announcing a proposal to provide 1 million jobs for young people over the next two years. He will offer the jobs legislation as an amendment to an education bill now before the Senate. In prepared remarks, Sanders discussed high youth unemployment, the high cost of college and inadequate child care. Congress must begin paying attention to the national tragedy of youth unemployment. “It is beyond belief that in the richest country in the history of the world millions of young people are unable to find work and begin their careers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, unbelievably, youth unemployment for high school graduates and dropouts is 33 percent for white youth, 36 percent for Hispanic youth and 51 percent for African-American young people. Read more here. Watch Sen. Sanders on the Senate floor here.
Sanders Introduces Solar Initiative
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday introduced legislation to make solar energy more accessible to low-income families. “While the cost of solar panels has gone down in recent years, it is still out of reach for millions of low-income families that need it the most,” said Sanders. “Families across this country struggle to pay electricity bills and access to solar energy can help reduce these costs.” The Low Income Solar Act of 2015 was introduced on the same day the White House proposed an initiative to make solar power more accessible to households and businesses. The Sanders bill would provide $200 million in loans and grants through the Department of Energy to offset the upfront costs for solar arrays on community facilities, public housing and low-income family homes. Read more here.
Sanders Addresses Puerto Rican Debt Crisis
Sanders on Tuesday backed bankruptcy protections to enable Puerto Rico to “restructure its debt in a rational way that does not harm its people, ordinary investors or pension funds in the United States," The Washington Post reported. "I strongly believe Puerto Rico should be afforded the same bankruptcy protections that exist for municipalities across the United States," he added. Sanders cited "the policies of austerity and the greed of large financial institutions" as key contributors to Puerto Rico's financial crisis. "Puerto Rico has been in a severe recession for almost a decade. Read more here.
Greece Votes ‘No’ to Austerity
Voters in Greece resoundingly rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans Sunday, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal. “I applaud the people of Greece for saying ‘no' to more austerity for the the poor, the children, the sick and the elderly," said Sanders in a statement. "In a world of massive wealth and income inequality Europe must support Greece's efforts to build an economy which creates more jobs and income, not more unemployment and suffering."