Congress

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

The U.S. House has voted to repeal the federal estate tax. Congressman Peter Welch strongly opposed the plan because he says it will add $270 billion to the national deficit and benefit very few people.

iunewind / iStock

Congressman Peter Welch is sponsoring legislation to protect the personal information of consumers from electronic data breaches in the future. Welch says he's concerned because cyber criminals are stealing this data at an alarming rate.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont's Transportation Fund, which pays for both road repairs and new highway projects, faces two major threats.

The first is a projected $6.6 million shortfall of state revenue. The second is possible changes to the Federal Highway Trust Fund that could delay dozens of projects in the state this summer.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

Congressman Peter Welch is sponsoring legislation to lift the travel ban with Cuba. Welch says he's convinced that normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba will help create opportunities for democracy in that country.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Congressman Peter Welch says he'll support a 12-cent increase in the federal gasoline tax as a way to provide long-term stability for the nation's Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money by the middle of May if Congress doesn't act.

Welch says he’ll oppose any short-term solutions to this issue. If the Highway Trust Fund runs dry, thousands of road and bridge projects across the country and dozens in Vermont will be severely cut back.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy has decided to seek an eighth term in office. His campaign staff says he's actively raising money for the 2016 election.

Jill Zuckman / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy was present when American contractor Alan Gross was released from a prison in Cuba Wednesday after being held there for five years. The release came as President Obama announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

The U.S. House has given its approval to legislation that funds the federal government for the next nine months.

Congressman Peter Welch has voted against a $1.1 trillion budget bill that would fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year.

Audio for this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 12.

Congressman Peter Welch has voted against the extension of a package of tax credits for businesses and individuals. The $45 billion plan passed the House late yesterday. The vote was 370 to 46.

The legislation will allow dozens of credits to be used during the 2014 tax year. It includes deductions for NASCAR race track owners, college students, commuters, and some teachers. It also extends research and development tax credits for many businesses.

Bob Kinzel / VPR

Supporters of a sales tax on all Internet retailers are hopeful that Congress will consider their bill in the next two weeks. It's estimated that the tax will bring an additional $25 million in revenue to the state of Vermont.  

While many online retailers celebrated "Cyber Monday" on Monday to boost their sales, Bear Pond Books in Montpelier decided to promote "Cider Monday" to encourage customers to visit their store. A large bowl of hot cider and donuts were placed on the store's checkout counter.

Angela Evancie / VPR

When Congress returns to Washington next month for the second phase of its lame duck session, Rep. Peter Welch will be urging House leaders to schedule a comprehensive debate to consider President Obama's plan to increase military actions against the terrorist group ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Sen. Patrick Leahy says he's pleased that the Department of Justice has recovered $24 billion in penalties from a group of financial institutions that were involved in the mortgage fraud that led to the recession in 2008.  

The federal Department of Justice says Citibank and J.P. Morgan paid "record penalties" under the settlement.

But no corporate officials will be going to jail because the companies did not have to admit to any fraudulent activity as part of the agreement. Leahy says he's disappointed that this is the case:

Angela Evancie / VPR

Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against the Keystone XL pipeline, and he supports President Obama's decision to protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation. Those are two of the issues we'll discuss with Sanders when he joins us on the next Vermont Edition. We'll also look at two of Sanders' priorities: addressing suicides among military veterans, and bringing down the prices of generic prescription drugs.

Broadcast live on Mon., Nov. 24 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jim Bourg / Reuters Pool/AP

All three members of Vermont's congressional delegation strongly support President Obama's new immigration reform plan. The delegation says the president had to act because the U.S. House failed to move an immigration bill. 

Sen. Patrick Leahy, seen here speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate about the Keystone pipeline at a previous date, says he will support a plan to slow down the Senate in protest of Republican efforts to craft a health care bill.
Office of Sen. Patrick Leahy, courtesy / file

The U.S. Senate Tuesday night rejected legislation that would have authorized the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Both of Vermont's U.S. senators voted against the bill.

The $8 billion proposed pipeline is designed to bring oil from the tar sands of Northwest Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast of the U.S.

Backers of the project say it will create thousands of good paying jobs and help lower oil prices. But Sen. Patrick Leahy views the project very differently.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Congressman Peter Welch has voted against legislation that would authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Keystone pipeline issue came before the U.S. House on Friday and was approved by a vote of 252 to 161.

The State Department is currently reviewing this proposal because it would bring oil sands from Canada to refineries in the southern part of the United States.

President Obama is expected to announce his position on the proposed pipeline in the next few weeks.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Congressman Peter Welch is our guest on the next Vermont Edition. The Democrat was easily re-elected last week, but when the new Congress begins work in January he will have fewer Democratic colleagues and a host of issues still to decide, including immigration and the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Send your questions for Congressman Peter Welch to vermontedition@vpr.net or post below.

Broadcast live on Fri., Nov. 14 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Republicans have taken control of the U.S. Senate and now control both Houses of Congress, and this will have ramifications for Vermont’s two U.S. Senators.

Linda Fowler, professor emerita of government at Dartmouth College, said Sen. Patrick Leahy will lose his spot as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, because the majority party will pick the chair. Leahy will become ranking member on the committee.

VPR

Among the 435 representatives in the US House, only one represents the interests of the Green Mountain State. That position has been held by Democrat Peter Welch since 2007. This year he faces a challenge from Republican Mark Donka and Liberty Union candidate Matthew Andrews. His opponents argue that it’s time for new blood in Washington. All three candidates meet in a live hour-long debate on VPR.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy will play a key role in reviewing the President’s nominee for attorney general.

Congress is in recess until after the November election but it is expected to hold what is known as a “lame duck” session at that time.

Senate Republican leaders don’t want to hold confirmation hearings on Eric Holder’s replacement until the start of the new Congress in January. That’s because they hope to win enough seats in the election to regain control of the U.S. Senate.

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