Bernie Sanders

The National Security Agency has so far refused to answer a question that Senator Bernie Sanders posed to them last week: “Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?”

The agency has been under heavy scrutiny since last June when British newspaper The Guardian began publishing documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

All three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation say the
passage of legislation that restricts government surveillance programs is a
top priority for 2014.

Sen. Patrick Leahy is expected to take a lead role in the national debate
over this issue. As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, Leahy
will hold hearings that examine the scope of the NSA’s monitoring programs
and he’s also the lead sponsor of legislation that makes some key changes to
the US Patriot Act.


Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy says he won’t support increasing sanctions on Iran during the current round of negotiations on that country’s nuclear program.

But Senator Bernie Sanders says he hasn’t ruled it out despite White House opposition.

Key senators from both sides of the aisle are pushing for more sanctions by Christmas, but President Obama is warning that passing new sanctions now threatens negotiations in the wake of a breakthrough interim agreement reached last month with Iran.

Toby Talbot / AP

A small group of House and Senate leaders are trying to hash out a budget compromise deal that both Republicans and Democrats can agree to before the next government shutdown battle looms. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is on that committee and last week he released his own vision of what a progressive budget should look like. 

Senator Bernie Sanders with Governor Peter Shumlin at a Nov. 4, 2013 press event announcing the solar test center.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a new, federally funded solar site in Williston on Monday designed to host experimental solar technology.

Sandia National Laboratories is responsible for management of the Williston location and four others across the nation ­– mostly in the south and southwest. The importance of the Vermont site, officials said, is that it will help the nation’s solar industry improve solar technology for cold weather areas.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling National Security Agency electronic surveillance of some of America's closest allies "outrageous."

Sanders wrote to President Barack Obama to express his views after reports that the NSA spied on heads of state in Brazil, Mexico, France and Germany.

Sanders pointed to reports that the U.S. hacked into the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and had harvested more than 70 million French phone records.

AP/Evan Vucci

In a rare joint appearance on VPR’s Vermont Edition, the state’s congressional delegation on Thursday delivered their strongest condemnation to date of the Republican Party as the cause of the government shutdown.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch met with Vermont Edition hosts Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm at National Public Radio’s headquarters in Washington. The three all had strong words about Republicans in Congress.

AP/Toby Talbot

Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch come together for a rare joint interview in a 90-minute live broadcast of Vermont Edition live from NPR's studios in Washington, D.C.

We'll examine government gridlock from the perspective of Vermont's congressional delegation, and hear them discuss how they advance the interests of Vermonters and their own political convictions while serving in Congress.

VPR's Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm co-host this special broadcast from Studio 32 at NPR's new world headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

VPR/Taylor Dobbs

A group of about 25 anti-war activists marched through Burlington Thursday afternoon, making stops at the offices of Vermont's delegation to Washington. Congregating at Senator Patrick Leahy's office at noon, the group moved to Senator Bernie Sanders' office and then the offices of Congressman Peter Welch.

"We want him to speak out," Marshfield resident Joseph Gainza said at Welch's office. The protest wasn't as much chanting as an organized set of pleas; Welch's state director, Patricia Coates, took notes as the protestors made their various concerns known.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says at this time he does not favor halting aid, including military aid, to Egypt in light of a police crackdown that has resulted in more than one thousand deaths.

Some members of Congress, including Arizona Senator John McCain who recently returned from Egypt, want to cut aid to the country’s military leaders as a way to pressure them to stop the killing.   Sanders disagrees.

Toby Talbot / AP

Wed 07/15/03 Noon & 7pm The US Senate has once again come to a showdown over filibusters. Our own Senator Bernie Sanders is in favor of dramatically changing the Senate's rules on filibusters. He famously took to the floor of the Senate himself in 2010 for eight and a half hours to speak against the extension of Bush era tax cuts.

Senator Patrick Leahy says he’s optimistic that the Senate will give its strong approval to an immigration reform bill by the end of this week.

As the chairman of the Judiciary committee, Senator Leahy has played a key role in the Senate’s consideration of this legislation.

The bill is designed to provide a path to citizenship for the nearly 12 million people who are in this country without proper documentation and it adds security along the Mexican border.

Vermont’s U.S. Senators are expressing dismay over today’s Supreme Court ruling striking down a central provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

Senator Patrick Leahy said the court’s action means those who were protected by the law will likely face greater difficulty casting ballots in future elections.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is set to lead a hearing this week on the effects of sexual assaults on veterans while in the military.

Sanders is chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and says he's grown increasingly concerned about recent revelations on the frequency of sexual assaults in the military.

Sanders says his committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on legislation for the V-A to update regulations on disability compensation for veterans with mental health conditions resulting from being sexually attacked while in the service.

Toby Talbot / AP

Fri 6/07/13 Noon & 7 pm Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy had an outsize role in shaping the compromise immigration bill which made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Attention now turns to Vermont's other senator. Will Bernie Sanders support this immigration reform bill even though he has expressed doubts about the guest worker provisions?

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is hailing a new report out on the Social Security program as supporting his conclusion the program is not going broke.

Trustees of Medicare and Social Security reported Friday the programs have enough money to stay afloat until 2026 in the case of Medicare and 2033 in the case of Social Security.

Sanders says longer-term problems with the programs could be addressed by lifting the cap on payroll taxes on upper-income workers.

Senator Bernie Sanders will be meeting with seniors in St. Johnsbury to talk about issues affecting them.

Sanders will be joined Friday by the heads of the Northeast Vermont Area Agency on Aging and Community of Vermont Elders.

The meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the St. Johnsbury House.