Saturday, December 4, 2010



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Note sent to Senator Sanders via his website form:

Thank you, Senator Sanders for speaking sense regarding the middle class situation and the Republican obstruction, Saturday.

I look at all labels and shy away from Made in China merchandise purchases as much as possible.


Source December 3, 2010

In a rare weekend session, Senate Republicans unanimously blocked a measure that would have extended tax cuts for American families with incomes under $250,000 and ended Bush-era tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. “What this debate is about is whether or not we continue to take money from the middle class and working families of this country who are struggling in a way that they have not struggled since the great depression in order to provide $700 billion over a 10-year period to the wealthiest people in this country,” Sanders said on the Senate floor moments before the vote. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate will vote next week on a Sanders’ bill to provide a $250 payment to more than 50 million American retirees and disabled veterans.

Taxes The White House and congressional Republicans were holding closed-door negotiations amid signals the Obama administration could bargain away tax breaks for the rich. Sanders hoped the White House stands firm. "What we have got say is, ‘no, we`re not going to give huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and ignore the needs of working families.’ The priorities have got to be not increasing our national debt by $700 billion by giving tax breaks to people who don`t need it," the senator said. The senator was interviewed by Rachel Maddow about taxes and the White House negotiating strategy. To watch, click here.

Unemployment Up With unemployment benefits expiring for 2 million Americans by the end of December, Senate Republicans blocked votes to extend help for the long-term jobless. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November, the Department of Labor reported on Friday. More than 15 million people remained out of work last month, and 6.3 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. Private companies added 50,000 jobs in November, mostly for temporary help. Another 19,000 jobs were added by health care providers. Retail jobs fell by 28,000. Manufacturing lost 13,000 jobs. Government payrolls dropped by 11,000 in the month. If those unemployed people are added to part-time workers looking for full-time jobs you get 17 percent of the work force that is "underemployed." There was a record 1.3 million "discouraged" workers in November; persons who have stopped looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The Fed The Federal Reserve on Wednesday was forced to disclose that it gave banks and other institutions an estimated $3.3 trillion in emergency loans and other assistance during the financial crisis. Sanders, whose amendment required the Fed to make the information public, called the revelations "jaw dropping." The disclosure, available on the Fed Web site, was strenuously opposed by Chairman Ben Bernanke during a 2009 Senate Budget Committee hearing. The requirement to reveal the information was mandated by a Sanders amendment to the Wall Street reform law. The same amendment ordered the Government Accountability Office to conduct a top-to-bottom audit of the Fed. "Almost two years ago I asked Chairman Bernanke to tell the American people which financial institutions and corporations received trillions of dollars as part of the Wall Street bailout. He refused. Today, as a result of an audit-the-Fed provision I put into the financial reform bill, we finally learn the truth - and it is astounding," Sanders said. (Read his full statement here.) To watch the senator's interview with Eliot Spitzer on CNN, click here.

Food Safety A procedural hitch at least temporarily sidetracked a food-safety bill that the Senate had approved on Tuesday. At a time when millions of Americans are sickened by food-borne illnesses each year, the Senate voted to require companies to institute an aggressive safety testing procedures, maintain clear records, and have emergency plans in place. The measure also would require imported food to be subject to the same standards as food grown or made in the United States. And it would increase the number of FDA inspectors while allowing the agency to initiate mandatory recalls and suspend a facility's operations. Sanders responded to concerns by small farmers in Vermont, where there has been a significant increase in sustainable vegetable farms, and added a provision exempting small, low-risk, on-farm food processors from the new regulations aimed at large agribusinesses.

Offshore Drilling The Obama administration this week reinstated an offshore drilling ban which mirrored policy first proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders last May - the president had lifted the moratorium prior to the now-infamous BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast. Sanders, a member of both the Senate energy and environment committee, introduced his Clean Coasts and Efficient Cars legislation (S.3433) which would have put a moratorium on offshore drilling of the east and west coasts of the country and in certain areas off of Florida. Now that is again the policy of the federal government. At a hearing in May, Sanders had asked Interior Sec. Ken Salazar if he would support reinstating a drilling moratorium. Salazar said no. This week, Salazar confirmed his agency was reinstating the policy for the next 7 years. Sanders legislation also called for raising fuel economy standards to a minimum of 55mpg by 2030. That aspect of his bill has also been supported by the administration which plans to raise fuel economy standards to between 47 and 62 MPG by 2025. Between those two policy decisions from the president, Sanders' legislation has effectively been implemented despite finding little support from his Senate colleague for the proposal.

Members of Congress create their own Retirement Benefits. Do you get to enact by law your retirement benefits?

Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

US Senators and Representatives Incomes for 2009

at: www.opensecrets.org/pfds

Here are two we should all make ourselves familiar with

The first amount given is the minimum, the second the maximum, third figure is the average amount of money

House (on graph 135 and 104)

John Boehner (R-Ohio) $1,801,094 $5,340,000

Eric Cantor (R-Va) $2,175,157 $7,533,999 $4,854,578

also of interest

Senate (on graph32 and 25)

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) $7,102,036 $32,756,000 $19,929,018

Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine)
$44,669,000 $28,612,527

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At December 8, 2010 at 3:17:00 AM EST , Anonymous rashid1891 said...

Thank you, Senator Sanders for speaking sense regarding the middle class situation and the Republican obstruction, Saturday.
I look at all labels and shy away from Made in China merchandise purchases as much as possible.


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