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Thursday, October 22, 2015

From the Office of Senator Sanders, United States Senator for Vermont: Newswatch October 22, 2015

Tuition-Free College “It is time to build on the progressive movement of the past and make public colleges and universities tuition-free in the United States — a development that will be the driver of a new era of American prosperity. We will have a stronger economy and a stronger democracy when all young people with the ambition and the talent can reach their full potential, regardless of their circumstances at birth,” Sen. Sanders wrote in The Washington PostLINK
Exxon Sanders joined MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes about his call for the Justice Department to investigate whether ExxonMobil broke any laws by trying to sow doubt about climate change. “I happen to believe, obviously, that climate change is real and it’s one of the great planetary crises we face,” he said. “But when you have people like the Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil today spending huge amounts of money trying to deny that reality, it slows up the world from aggressively addressing what is an international crisis. This is serious stuff.” The letter cites an ongoing investigative series by InsideClimate News, which has revealed that Exxon scientists conducted rigorous climate research from the late-1970s to mid-1980s and warned top company executives about how global warming posed a threat to Exxon's core business, VICE NewsMother Jones and PolicyMic reported. VIDEO,  LINK, LINKLINK
Worker's Compensation Ten prominent Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Sanders are urging the U.S. secretary of labor to come up with a plan to ensure that state workers’ compensation programs are properly caring for injured workers, ProPublica and NPR reported. The lawmakers’ letter, sent Tuesday, was prompted by an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, which found that more than 30 states have cut benefits to injured workers, created daunting hurdles to getting medical care or made it more difficult for workers with certain injuries and illnesses to qualify. LINKLINK  
Kimmel Sanders said Wednesday that he is open to the legalization of marijuana during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC, The Washington Post reported. “We have more people in jail today than any other country on earth,” Sanders told Kimmel. “We have large numbers of lives that have been destroyed because of this war on drugs, and because people were caught smoking marijuana and so forth. I think we have got to end the war on drugs.” Sanders also pushed for his plan to make public colleges and universities free, saying, “Everybody knows that a college degree today is more or less the equivalent to what a high school degree was 50 years ago.”LINK,VIDEO
Bernanke Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos that he found finds some common ground with Sanders when it comes to distribution of wealth, Fusion reported. “Over the last forty years or so we’ve seen wages and wealth becoming more unequally distributed,” he told Ramos. “And it’s an important problem, one we need to address.” LINKVIDEO
Prison Phone Rates The Obama administration wants to cap the rates and fees companies charge for prison phone service, The Huffington Post reported. Phone companies paid prisons $460 million in commissions in 2013 – payments that Sens. Cory Booker and Sanders and 14 other Democrats said last Thursday amounted to kickbacks to win contracts. LINK
Doc Brown To mark Back to the Future Day, Sanders posted a photo of himself with Christopher Lloyd, the actor who played Doc Brown in the iconic movie series, TIME MagazineThe Hill and Entertainment Weekly reported. reported. Sanders is a guest on Wednesday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live show, which is spending the week filming from Kimmel’s hometown of Brooklyn. Kimmel’s other advertised guest for Wednesday’s Back to the Future segment—October 21, 2015—will be star Michael J. Fox, who played Marty McFly in the iconic trilogy that also co-starred Lloyd. LINKLINKLINK
Column: Means-Testing Entitlements “Sanders supports sufficient tax increases on the wealthy to cover the cost of universal free tuition, and then some. By raising taxes on investment income, financial transactions and the overall income of the richest Americans, as Sanders has advocated, the programs that Sanders champions would be fully paid for. Say what you will about Senator Socialist, he’s no budget buster,” Harold Meyerson wrote in The Washington PostLINK
Hottest Year on Record Planet Earth is on a high temperature record-breaking tear this year, which shows no sign of relenting. 2015 is, by far, on track to become the warmest year in recorded history, The Washington Post reported. NOAA reports today the globally-averaged temperature for September 2015 was the warmest of all previous Septembers on record, dating back to 1880, and by an unprecedented margin of 0.19 degrees. LINK  
Trudeau A day after defeating Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Prime Minister-designate Trudeau told President Obama by phone that he would make good on a campaign promise to withdraw Canada’s jets from the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, The Washington Post reported. Canada has committed a half-dozen fighter planes, a fraction of the American air power in the fight. LINK
Heroin Epidemic Faced with a nationwide epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse, the Obama administration announced Wednesday it will take steps to increase access to drug treatment and the training of doctors who prescribe opiate painkillers, The Washington Post reported. The administration hopes to double the number of doctors who can prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opiate addiction, to 60,000 from 30,000 over the next three years. More than 40 medical provider groups have committed to training more than a half million doctors, dentists and others on the safe prescription of opiate medications. LINK  
Speaker Ryan Hard-line conservatives cleared a path Wednesday for Rep. Paul Ryan to become House speaker when some of his most disgruntled fellow Republicans signaled that they would support his bid for the top job, The Washington Post. The decision to back Ryan by the House Freedom Caucus, a group of nearly 40 lawmakers that has risen in power and stature since its founding this year, came after the Ways and Means Committee chairman spent much of his day courting its support. LINK 
Unemployment Vermont’s unemployment rose by .1 percent in September, to 3.7 percent, Vermont Public Radio reported. Of the state’s 17 labor markets, Derby had the highest unemployment rate at 5.5 percent, while the lowest was 3.2 percent in Burlington-South Burlington. Unlike the statewide rate, the local rates are not adjusted to compensate for seasonal changes in employment. LINK  

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