Congress

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on Capitol Hill in April 2017.
Alex Brandon / AP

Taxes, gun control, judicial appointments and federal spending: The final weeks of 2017 will bring a full slate before Congress, with many decisions likely to come down to close votes in the Senate.

Lauren Victoria Burke / AP

Republican leaders in Congress want their plan to overhaul the country's tax system finished by Thanksgiving, but Congressman Peter Welch says he opposes the bill. It's just one of many issues on the congressional docket that's setting a dizzying pace through the end of the year.

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, shown speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington, joins "Vermont Edition" to discuss key issues facing the Senate.
Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen discusses some of the top issues facing the Senate, including health care, North Korea, the Republican tax plan and protecting domestic violence victims.

Sen. Bernie Sanders says now is the time to begin debating the merits of his "Medicare for all" health care plan.
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to make his "Medicare for all" health care plan a top priority for the Democrats in the 2018 elections. But a number of moderate Democrats worry this approach will hurt their chances of winning seats in Congress next year.

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation strongly oppose a new GOP tax plan
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/File

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation say a new Republican tax plan in Washington will provide wealthy Americans with a huge tax cut while raising taxes on some middle income people.

This Feb. 1, 2013, file photo shows a "bump stock" next to a disassembled .22-caliber rifle at North Raleigh Guns in Raleigh, N.C. A similar device was used by the gunman in Las Vegas who killed 58 people
Allen Breed / Associated Press

Rep. Peter Welch says he's disappointed that House Speaker Paul Ryan has decided not to pursue legislation that would ban the devices used in the Las Vegas shootings that allow semi automatic rifles to function more as automatic weapons.

A federal program that provides low-cost health insurance for Vermont children expired at the end of last month, but officials here say the state isn’t feeling a financial pinch just yet.

Rep. Peter Welch backs efforts to outlaw devices that increase the capabilities of semi-automatic weapons
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Rep. Peter Welch is backing legislation to prohibit the sale of devices that turn semi-automatic rifles into weapons that allow shooters to fire hundreds of rounds per minute.

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation strongly oppose a new GOP tax plan
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/File

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation say they'll oppose President Trump's tax plan because it favors the richest Americans.

Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille says Vermont would lose more than $200 million a year under the new Republican health care bill.
VPR / Bob Kinzel

Most estimates conclude that Vermont would be one of the hardest hit states on a per capita basis by the proposed Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation strongly oppose a new GOP tax plan
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/File

President Trump surprised a lot of Republicans and Democrats over the last few weeks by backing plans proposed by Congressional Democrats. But it's unclear how long the trend will last. 

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation strongly oppose a new GOP tax plan
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/File

Congressman Peter Welch says he's pleased that President Trump is supporting Democratic efforts to protect young immigrants from being deported.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, seen here in a Facebook video posted Sept. 13, introduces his "Medicare For All" act Wednesday.
screenshot from Facebook live

Sen. Bernie Sanders and his co-sponsors will introduce his "Medicare For All" act Wednesday afternoon. Sanders is streaming his announcement via Facebook Live.

Gov. Phil Scott is part of a bipartisan group of governors working on ways to strengthen the Affordable Care Act
VPR / Bob Kinzel

As Congress considers changes to the Affordable Care Act, a bipartisan group of governors is hoping to play an important role in the debate over a new health care bill. Gov. Phil Scott says the only way to tackle the issue is for Republicans and Democrats to work together.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce a bill next month to create a government-run, single-payer health care system. And he knows it's going to fail.

"Look, I have no illusions that under a Republican Senate and a very right-wing House and an extremely right-wing president of the United States, that suddenly we're going to see a Medicare-for-all, single-payer passed," he said recently, sitting in his Senate office. "You're not going to see it. That's obvious."

FILE - Rep. Pete Welch, D-Vt., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Welch won both the Democratic and Republican nominations in August 2016 for re-election that year to a sixth term.
Lauren Victoria Burke / AP

Congressman Peter Welch has positioned himself as a Democrat who wants to work with Republicans. Polls suggest that's what Americans want from Washington, but so far bipartisanship has been hard to find in a polarized Congress.

Sarah Launderville, executive director of the Vermont Center for Independent Living, says Medicaid funding is still in jeopardy, even though the Affordable Care Act has survived attempts by Republicans to repeal it.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

For supporters of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, last week’s failed vote to repeal the law was cause for celebration. But the future of federal funding for health care programs in Vermont remains uncertain, and advocates say they are not resting easy.

Sen. Patrick Leahy is backing efforts to release long held documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Sen. Patrick Leahy is leading an effort in the U.S. Senate to prevent the Trump Administration from cracking down on states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H, and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., talk to a West Lebanon crowd about ways to create bipartisan healthcare reform for individual markets.
Rebecca Sananes / VPR

Vermont and New Hampshire Representatives were in the Upper Valley Friday to talk about ways to compromise on health care reform in Congress.

Tom Huebner, the CEO of Rutland Regional Medical Center, says tens of thousands of Vermonters could lose coverage under the proposed Republican health care legislation. He also says his hospital could lose $19 million in federal reimbursement.
Nina Keck / VPR file

Senate Republicans plan to unveil a new version of their health care bill this week, but unless it differs substantively from the previous version, Rutland Regional Medical Center could lose $19 million a year in federal reimbursements, according to the hospital's CEO.

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