Peter Welch

President Obama Thursday afternoon signed a bill into law that will provide an additional $126 million for pediatric cancer research over the next 10 years.

Congressman Peter Welch is a lead sponsor of the legislation. Welch says the money will used by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The proposal will be paid for by eliminating taxpayer financing of political party conventions.

Rep. Peter Welch says he's optimistic that Congress will pass a compromise Farm Bill in the coming weeks. Welch says he thinks the legislation will include a new dairy program that's supported by many Vermont farmers.

The old Farm Bill expired at the end of last year and technically milk prices are supposed to revert back to a pricing system established by a law passed in the 1940s.

AP/Toby Talbot

One week ago, President Obama announced changes to the federal security program that monitors the emails and phone calls of millions of Americans, but Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) says the changes don't go far enough to protect the privacy of citizens. "I think more transparency is where we need to go," said Welch in response to the president's address.

Friday on Vermont Edition, we talk with Rep. Welch about National Security Agency surveillance programs, and we'll check in on other federal policy questions before the U.S. Congress.

Vermont’s congressional delegation is split on the idea of clemency for NSA whistleblower and fugitive Edward Snowden.

Snowden was a contractor for the National Security Agency when he gathered thousands of pages of classified documents about the agency’s covert surveillance activities and later passed them off to journalists.

The documents have sparked an international debate about NSA surveillance, which included collecting data about millions of Americans’ phone calls, bypassing data encryption, and conducting surveillance on foreign heads of state.

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.

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. 

The Coalition, known as the “Problem Solvers”, is made up of roughly 40 House Democrats and 40 House Republicans and they’ve pledged to work together on a number of budget related issues.

Congressman Peter Welch is one of the founding members of the group that was formed in January. Welch says many of the coalition’s Republican members don’t support efforts by GOP leaders to shut the government down unless the Affordable Care Act is delayed for a year.

Vermont Assistant Attorney General Bridget Asay, who filed what the Electronic Frontier Foundation called a "groundbreaking" lawsuit against alleged patent abuser MPHJ Technology Investments.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Patent abuse by a shadowy alphabet soup of shell corporations has cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars. Rich Tarrant, Jr., founder of MyWebGrocer, says it has cost Vermont jobs.

At a panel discussion about patent abuse Monday, Tarrant joined Assistant Attorney General Bridget Asay and a number of  business people and patent abuse experts to talk about the problem and what Vermont and the federal government can do to stop it.

Congressman Peter Welch is warning that a Republican plan to shut down the federal government over the future funding of the Affordable Care Act could have a very negative impact on the national economy.

Welch says if the GOP decides to take this course of action, it will destroy any hope to develop bi-partisan solutions to some of the country’s biggest problems.

Congressman Peter Welch is pushing legislation that would make federal student load and grant programs more flexible, in response to the new ways in which students pursue college educations.

Welch joined with Vermont State Colleges officials on Monday to announce his introduction of the Flexibility to Innovate for College Affordability Act.

The legislation would give students the freedom to use federal grants and loans for accelerated degree completion, competency based learning, competency testing and dual enrollment.

Welch On Syria

Sep 6, 2013
Toby Talbot / AP/file

The president has asked Congress to authorize a military strike in the wake of chemical weapons attack in Syria. Congressman Peter Welch joins us to discuss whether the U-S should take military action there.

Send your comments or questions for Congressman Welch to or post below.

Fri 9/6/13 Noon & 7PM  

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.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Fri 08/09/13 Noon &7pm Congressman Peter Welch is a co-sponsor of a bill in the House to make it more difficult for the National Security Agency to monitor the emails and phone calls of millions of Americans as part of its effort to thwart future terrorist attacks. We’ll talk about how the current world wide terror alert is affecting the national debate over this legislation.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Congressman Peter Welch discusses his role in trying to restrict the surveillance operations of the National Security Agency in an interview with VPR's Bob Kinzel. Welch also talks about his efforts to prevent President Obama from taking military action in Syria without specific approval of Congress.

flickr/pixelant 2182375261

Fri 7/26/13 Noon & 7 PM  During the 2004 Presidential primary, Howard Dean’s campaign pioneered the use of the internet in raising money and organizing volunteers. His webmaster was Nicco Mele. Mele has written a new book called “The End of Big: How the Internet makes David the New Goliath.”

On July 1, interest rates on some federal student loans are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

It’s the same hike that was set to take effect last summer, but Congress passed a bill to keep rates from rising. That law is set to expire next week, and Washington still has not reached an agreement.

Congressman Peter Welch said Vermont will be especially affected, with the seventh greatest student loan debt in the country.

“I’m supporting legislation in the house that would maintain the 3.4 percent rate for two years, ” he said.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch is joining West Virginia Republican David McKinley to back legislation designed to promote more energy efficiency in homes and other buildings.

One of the bills would provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements. A second measure, the Better Buildings Act, focuses on improving efficiency in commercial buildings.

Congressman Peter Welch is joining Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia to back legislation designed to promote more energy efficiency in homes and other buildings.

One of the bills, The Home Owner Managing Energy Savings Act, would provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements. Homeowners who demonstrate a 20 percent energy savings will receive a $2,000 rebate. For every 5 percent in additional energy savings, they can receive another $1,000 - up to a total of $8,000 or 50 percent of the project's cost.

Congressman Peter Welch is urging members of Congress to remember the lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before sending military supplies to opposition forces in Syria.

Earlier this month, Welch was part of a Congressional oversight mission that traveled to a number of countries in the Middle East.

He says seeing almost half a million refugees at a camp along the Turkish – Syrian border was a sobering experience that highlighted the limits of what the United States can do in this conflict.