Congress

Lauren Victoria Burke / AP

The U.S. Senate will meet in a rare Sunday session to discuss the future of the Patriot Act. There's a lot of attention surrounding this issue because the act will expire Sunday night unless Congress votes to reauthorize it.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy says Republican Senate leaders are using pressure tactics to try to win approval for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Leahy's proposal to rein in the government's electronic surveillance program is at the heart of the dispute in Washington.

Screen shot/ / Vermont Agency of Transportation

Transportation Secretary Sue Minter says she is incredibly frustrated that Congress will not pass a long-term transportation bill. Minter is putting a contingency plan in place to ensure that Vermont's summer construction projects can stay on schedule.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Despite enormous pressure from the White House, both of Vermont's U.S. senators say they will vote against a plan to give President Obama streamlined authority to negotiate a new trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Sen. Patrick Leahy says he's encouraged that a federal appeals court has ruled that the federal government's massive phone surveillance program is unconstitutional.

The court ruling comes just weeks before Congress will vote on the re-authorization of the Patriot Act, the law that allows the Obama Administration to collect hundreds of millions of phone records as part of an effort to thwart terrorism.

Leahy is the lead sponsor of a bill that removes the government's ability to conduct this kind of bulk data collection program. He praised the court's decision.

John Locher / AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders is strongly opposing President Obama's new international trade proposal. As Sanders considers a run for president, he says the trade deal should be a key issue in the Democratic 2016 presidential primary campaign.

Sanders has not formally announced his candidacy, but if he does run, it's clear that economic issues will be at the center of his campaign.

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.

[I used to be an embedded Storify. See Editor’s Note below.]

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. 

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