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RECAP: Sanders, Leahy Urge Colleagues to Pick Up the Pace on $3.5T Budget Bill

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Sanders, Leahy Urge Colleagues to Pick Up the Pace on $3.5T Budget Bill October 23, 2021


Welcome to Weekly Recap, where each week we’ll break down the week’s political happenings and offer our take on the news of the week. In this week’s Recap: Senators Sanders and Leahy signal movement on the $3.5 trillion budget bill, urging Congress to move quickly; Justice Robinson's Judicial nomination advances to the Senate after a party-line committee vote; Governor Madeleine Kunin says "Biden's budget bill would improve the lives of many Americans" (we agree!); Vermont's legislative leaders apologize for for Vermont’s early 20th century state-sanctioned eugenics movement; and Senator Leahy releases the remaining nine Senate Appropriations bills. PLUS: Where's Phil Scott? Vermont continues to have the fastest-growing Covid-19 infection rate in the nation, and Dartmouth public health researcher Anne Sosin speaks to Phil Scott's refusal to change course for the Delta variant – despite the science.

ON THE HILL SANDERS, LEAHY SIGNAL MOVEMENT ON $3.5 TRILLION BUDGET BILL, URGE CONGRESS TO MOVE QUICKLY VTDIGGER: “Vermont’s two U.S. senators, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, speaking at a news conference Thursday, signaled optimism that Congress can pass major legislation such as a $3.5 trillion domestic budget, but implored their colleagues to pick up the pace. "Sanders and Leahy are the chairmen of the Senate’s consequential budget and appropriations committees, respectively, putting them at the helm of major bill negotiations this fall. Sanders, in particular, has publicly sparred with moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have held up budget negotiations for weeks. "Democrats hold only slim majorities in both the Senate and the House, and Sanders told reporters Thursday that 'every single person has got to be on board.' “'Trust me, we are working on this bill 24/7 and we are going to get it done and we are going to have Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema on board, as well,' he said. "At Thursday’s news conference, Leahy appeared frustrated with his Washington colleagues’ stalling, saying he is 'so tired' of them worrying about the political optics of their stances. He harkened back to his first three months in the Senate, when he had to vote on whether to continue funding the Vietnam War. "'They told me I’d never be reelected if I voted against it,' said Leahy, who has held his seat since 1975. 'The funding for the Vietnam War was cut off by a one-vote margin: mine.' "He said he knew it was the right thing to do, and urged his colleagues to also consider what the right thing to do is for their constituents now. “'These are issues that the vast majority of Americans across the political spectrum, throughout the country, support,' Leahy said. 'Then why the hell don’t we get down there and vote for them?'" READ MORE ON THE HILL ROBINSON JUDICIAL NOMINATION ADVANCES TO SENATE AFTER PARTY-LINE COMMITTEE VOTE VTDIGGER: “Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson is one step closer to serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. "On a party-line vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 Thursday, with three abstentions, to refer Robinson’s nomination to a full Senate floor vote. President Joe Biden nominated Robinson to the federal court in August. If confirmed, she would be the first openly LGBTQ+ woman to serve on a federal appellate court. "Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., praised Robinson at Thursday’s hearing, saying she 'has probably the broadest type of support I’ve ever seen … and I’ve had some wonderful nominees from Vermont come here.'" READ MORE BUILD BACK BETTER MADELEINE KUNIN: BIDEN'S BUDGET BILL WOULD IMPROVE THE LIVES OF MANY AMERICANS VTDIGGER: "It’s dismaying to see Republicans and some conservative Democrats hacking away at President Biden’s historic budget reconciliation act. "They say it’s too expensive, without looking at what $3.5 trillion would buy in return: a more fair and equal society and a more livable Planet Earth. "The president’s proposed legislation may be the equivalent of Social Security, but this time for children and working families. "What an achievement that would be for every American. But it faces strong opposition. Because of the opposition of Sens. Manchin and Sinema, subsidized child care and climate change protection may fall by the wayside. "It is ironic that Sen. Manchin lives in West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the country, yet he turns his back on his own constituency. which would benefit the most from the Democratic legislation. "And as for Kyrsten Sinema, I interviewed her some years ago for a book I was writing. She was a brave and outspoken liberal, who I admired. Why the turnaround? One can only speculate. "There are so many proposals in this package that would provide greater income security for so many and stem the slide toward irreversible climate change that I’m deeply moved to see it on paper. It may be the opportunity of a lifetime. "This is our chance to reawaken the American Dream and leave a more sustainable Planet Earth for our children." READ MORE FROM THE STATE HOUSE VERMONT'S LEGISLATIVE LEADERS APOLOGIZE FOR STATE-SANCTIONED EUGENICS MOVEMENT VTDIGGER: “Legislative leaders formally apologized on Saturday for Vermont’s early 20th century state-sanctioned eugenics movement, which targeted Indigenous people and other groups. "Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, and Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham, read the apology from the floor of the State House, standing before approximately 30 members of the public, including a number of Indigenous people — some from the Abenaki tribes of the region.

“'While eugenics practices and policies are no longer in existence, the impact and legacy deeply remains today,' Krowinski said. 'For those that were directly impacted or their descendants, and for all of the communities involved, we cannot undo the trauma that this moment has caused, but we can start by formally acknowledging this dark period in our state’s history.' “'This is a moment for grief, but it’s also a moment for growth,' [Senate Pro Tempore Becca Balint] said. "Sitting front and center on Saturday was Chief Don Stevens of the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe. While he didn’t see the day as a happy occasion, Stevens said he was pleased with the apology.

“'I think this was a long time coming and we definitely appreciate the fact that it’s an ending to a chapter and a new beginning,' Stevens said.

“'I would like to make sure we follow this with things that will uplift Indigenous people and those affected, so that way there’s genuine content behind the words. I think the Legislature will [follow up].' "Stevens said he was grateful for the 'strong supporters' Indigenous people and impacted communities have had in the Statehouse." READ MORE

ON THE HILL LEAHY RELEASES REMAINING NINE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS BILLS VERMONT BUSINESS MAGAZINE: “Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) Monday released the remaining nine Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bills. Monday’s announcement follows months of Leahy calling for bipartisan, bicameral negotiations with the White House on topline spending and the successful, bipartisan passage of the Energy & Water, Military Construction and Veteran’s Affairs, and Agriculture and Rural Development appropriations bills out of the Committee back in August. "The bills comply with the topline spending allocation contained in the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Resolution. Combined with the three bills reported from the Appropriations Committee in August, the bills provide a 13 percent increase for non-defense discretionary programs and a 5 percent increase for defense programs. The five percent increase for defense programs is consistent with the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reported from the Senate Armed Services Committee and passed by the House with bipartisan support last month. These bills are largely a product of bipartisan work to address both Democratic and Republican funding priorities."

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CONTACT:

Asha Carroll Communications Director Vermont Democratic Party acarroll@vtdemocrats.org (802) 391-4035

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