The Week in Review

A bill on global warming was narrowly approved by a Senate subcommittee. Senator Bernie Sanders voted against the measure that fails to do what scientists say must be done to prevent catastrophic climate change. In the two weeks since Sanders became the first senator to announce that he would vote against President Bush's attorney general nominee, opposition in the Senate mounted. Congress was poised to send a big increase in veterans benefits to President Bush, who threatened a veto. As the Bu

A bill on global warming was narrowly approved by a Senate subcommittee. Senator Bernie Sanders voted against the measure that fails to do what scientists say must be done to prevent catastrophic climate change. In the two weeks since Sanders became the first senator to announce that he would vote against President Bush's attorney general nominee, opposition in the Senate mounted. Congress was poised to send a big increase in veterans benefits to President Bush, who threatened a veto. As the Bush administration became more confrontational with Iran, Sanders and others insisted the president must not launch a military attack without the express consent of Congress. In Vermont, a bid by Verizon to monopolize cell phone service prompted Sanders to speak out for consumers and businesses.

Lite Green A Senate panel on Thursday narrowly approved a global warming bill that Sanders opposed because it would not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases as much as scientists say is necessary to stop catastrophic changes in the Earth's climate. "This bill is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough to do what scientists tell us must be done to stop global warming," he said. Sanders' no vote drew praise from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, which said the bill does more "to support corporate welfare than it does to reduce global warming." Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said, "Sanders is providing much-needed leadership and giving Vermonters reason to be proud." The pithy environmentalist Bill McKibben said, "Bernie Sanders is my hero." Sanders sent a special message to McKibben's Vermont-based Step It Up campaign , which planned rallies across the country this weekend. To read the Step It Up statement, click here. To watch the senator at the subcommittee hearing, click here.

Attorney General Opposition in the Senate to President Bush's attorney general nominee gathered steam. Sanders on Thursday took to the Senate floor to reiterate concerns he had outlined on October 22, when he became the first senator to announce his intention to vote against Mukasey. "We need an attorney general who can explain to the president what the Constitution of this country is all about. We need an attorney general who does not believe the president has unlimited power," he said. "I have concluded that Michael B Mukasey would not be that kind of attorney general." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled that the Senate would not consider the nomination if it does not clear a crucial vote next Tuesday in the Judiciary Committee. Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy told a press conference on Friday in Burlington, Vt. that he won't support Mukasey. To read the senator's column, click here.

Iran Thirty members of Congress, including Sanders, sent a letter to President Bush on Thursday urging him not to launch a military attack on Iran without the express consent of Congress. "We are writing to express serious concerns with the provocative statements and actions stemming from your administration with respect to possible U.S. military action in Iran," the letter said. "These comments are counterproductive and undermine efforts to resolve tensions with Iran through diplomacy." As the Brattleboro Reformer put it in an editorial, "This nation is perilously close to making a foreign policy mistake even worse than the invasion of Iraq." Senator Dick Durbin and Sanders on October 25 introduced a resolution that reads in full: "Whereas Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States vests in Congress all power to declare war: Now, therefore, be it resolved, that any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly approved by Congress before such action may be initiated." To read the Reformer editorial, click here. To read the letter to the president, click here. To read the Durbin-Sanders Resolution, click here.

Veterans Senate leaders joined representatives of veterans groups at a Capitol Hill press conference on Friday to discuss a veterans funding bill on the verge of final passage by the House and Senate. "Congress is finally making great strides in the effort to keep faith with our veterans," said Sanders, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Joseph A. Violante, National Legislative Director of Disabled American Veterans, said the much-needed funding increase - the largest in the 77-year history of the VA - will allow the agency to better meet the needs of the men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Senator Durbin said the House and Senate will vote on the bigest increase in veterans spending in a generation - more than $4 billion. "If the president is as concerned as he claims to be with the health and well being of our veterans," Durbin added, "he will change course and sign this bill into law." Sen. Jack Reed, a former Army Captain, said the legislation demonstrates our commitment to veterans. To watch or listen to Sanders at the press conference, click here or here.

Can You Hear Me Now? As Verizon Wireless laid plans to acquire a competing mobile phone company, Unicel, Sanders weighed in with a request that the Federal Communications Commission protect the interests of Vermont consumers and businesses. If Verizon is to be handed a virtual Vermont monopoly, he said, the telecommunications giant must guarantee that it will provide cell service throughout the state. "We should ask them to provide universal geographic coverage. They should make sure that all of our people have access to cell phone service in every town and every part of the state." To watch Senator Sanders discuss the proposed Vermont cell phone merger, click here. To read the senator's letter to the Federal Communications Commission, click here.