The Week in Review

Norman Rockwell's paintingVermonters who were models for Norman Rockwell set a Saturday reunion in Arlington, Vt., where the artist lived from 1939 to 1953 and painted illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post.

With a critical national election five weeks away, Sen. Bernie Sanders is concerned about what happens the day afterward. "The day after the election what we have to do is everything we can to make certain the Congress listens to the American people," he said Friday on The Thom Hartmann Program. Strong majorities want to protect Social Security and Medicare. Overwhelming numbers of Americans favor putting an end to tax breaks for the wealthy.  Will Congress listen? "Let the voices of the American people be heard," Sanders said on Brunch with Bernie, his weekly, one-hour radio and Internet program. 

Social Security 

Concern is mounting that President Obama will make a deal with Senate Republicans and some Democrats during the lame-duck session that would reduce Social Security benefits.  "Unless we stop it, what will happen is there will be a quote-unquote ‘grand bargain' after the election in which the White House, some Democrats will sit down with Republicans" and ram through a deal that cuts Social Security, Sanders told The Huffington Post in an article posted on Monday. John Nichols wrote about the same issue in the current issue of The Nation magazine.  "After the election, when the fight over ‘fiscal cliff' budget cuts begins, what will be needed most are stalwarts in Congress who will check and balance not just Republicans, but any tendency toward regressive compromise by the White House and congressional leaders," Nichols wrote.

Read The Nation article »

Medicare 

The American public opposes far-reaching changes to Medicare, according to poll results published on Friday by The Washington Post. By majorities topping 70 percent, seniors say they prefer to keep Medicare as a program with guaranteed benefits, rather than moving, as called for by the House-passed budget, to a system in which the government gives recipients fixed payments to buy coverage from private insurers or traditional Medicare.

Pharmaceutical Fraud 

Drug companies paid $6.6 billion so far this year to settle claims that they defrauded federal and state government health programs, Public Citizen said in a report issued on Thursday. Sanders proposed legislation this year to strip patent protections from drugs manufactured by companies involved in fraud against the government. The Sanders amendment "would have more effectively targeted companies' bottom lines, while increasing access to cheaper generics for Medicare and Medicaid patients," the report said. But the amendment received only nine votes. 

Read the Public Citizen report »
Watch Sanders' floor statement »

Jobs 

The Labor Department said Thursday that U.S. employers added almost 400,000 more jobs than had been previously estimated in a 12-month period that ended in March. That means that the number of U.S. jobs is greater now than when President Obama took office.

Economic Development in Vermont 

Economic development projects in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom worth $500 million to $600 million were announced on Thursday. The projects could bring thousands of new jobs to a beautiful part of Vermont that needs an economic boost "so that our kids can stay, have decent jobs and earn decent wages right in their own communities," Sanders said.