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Monday, April 13, 2020

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders Endorses Joe Biden for President

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2020 at 2:52 PM

Joe Biden, left, and Bernie Sanders - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Joe Biden, left, and Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has endorsed former vice president Joe Biden for president.

Sanders made the announcement Monday afternoon during a Biden campaign livestream, saying that he believes his former opponent in the Democratic primary understands the country needs to move forward in an "unprecedented way" to address the "terrible pain" caused by the coronavirus.

"Today I am asking all Americans — I'm asking every Democrat, I'm asking every independent, I'm asking a lot of Republicans — to come together in this campaign, to support your candidacy, which I endorse, to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe ... is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country," Sanders said.

"We need you in the White House," Sanders went on to say. "I will do all that I can to see that that happens, Joe."

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Leahy, Sanders, Welch and Scott Hold Virtual Town Hall on Coronavirus

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 8:45 PM

A flier advertising the event from Sen. Bernie Sanders' Facebook page - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • A flier advertising the event from Sen. Bernie Sanders' Facebook page
Vermont's top elected officials held a telephonic town hall on Thursday, fielding questions from across the state about the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted the virtual gathering alongside Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Gov. Phil Scott and several officials from the state health and labor departments.

"I don't have to tell anybody that we are living in a moment of unprecedented difficulty for our state and for the entire country," Sanders said in his opening remarks, which came a day after he suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"The function of tonight is to get information out to you," he later told the audience. "Get your pencils out, get your papers out and take some notes if you need to."

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders Suspends His Presidential Campaign

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2020 at 11:41 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders making his announcement online - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders making his announcement online
Updated at 3:49 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, bringing to a close his relentless and dogged pursuit of the presidency on a platform of progressive ideals for health, income and equality.

Despite a promising start for Sanders in the primary season and strong support from young people, Vermont's junior senator had faded in recent weeks, beginning with a disappointing Super Tuesday showing on March 3.
The slide continued into Tuesday’s primary in Wisconsin, a contest Sanders was expected to lose to former vice president Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic nominee. Sanders won that state's primary in 2016 during his unsuccessful bid for the nomination against Hillary Clinton.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Welch Backs $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package, From Afar

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 7:24 PM

Rep. Peter Welch - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Rep. Peter Welch
The U.S. House on Friday signed off on a $2 trillion relief package meant to provide emergency assistance to individuals, businesses and states coping with the coronavirus outbreak.

The bill, which cleared the Senate on Wednesday, passed the House by voice vote and was signed by President Donald Trump later Friday.

House leaders had hoped to approve the legislation without calling many members back to the Capitol. But after Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) threatened to derail the proceedings if a quorum was not present, many lawmakers scrambled to return.

Welch was not among them.

"Peter is trying to respect the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] public health guidelines prohibiting large gatherings, so he will not be traveling to DC unless a roll call vote is called and he is needed by leadership to pass the bill," spokesperson Lincoln Peek wrote in an email Friday morning. "Peter strongly supports the bill and expects it to pass by voice vote today."

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Scott Urges Trump to Invoke Defense Production Act

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 6:08 PM

Gov. Phil Scott - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Gov. Phil Scott
Gov. Phil Scott on Friday urged President Donald Trump to utilize the Defense Production Act to manufacture ventilators and other "critical equipment and supplies."

In a letter sent to Trump shortly before 2 p.m., Scott wrote that Vermont was "particularly concerned about being able to secure enough ventilators for critically ill patients."

The Defense Production Act allows the president to force businesses to take action in support of the national defense.

"Please, Mr. President, use the DPA to order the expedited production of ventilators, and other essential supplies," Scott wrote. "Doing so will help us save many American lives."

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bernie Sanders
Vermont to Receive $2B From Coronavirus Bill Backed by Leahy, Sanders

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 10:36 AM

Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders
Updated at 5:05 p.m.

A massive federal relief package could direct nearly $2 billion to Vermont, according to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The $2 trillion bill, approved late Wednesday by the U.S. Senate, is intended to shore up the economy and provide direct relief from the coronavirus pandemic. It passed by a vote of 96 to zero, with Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voting in the affirmative. The U.S. House is expected to sign off on it Friday with a voice vote.

The stimulus package — the largest of its kind in U.S. history — includes $1,200 checks for most Americans, an expansion of unemployment benefits, support for major industries and small businesses, and grants to hospitals and state governments.

Vermont's two U.S. senators both played prominent roles in the bill's drafting and passage.

As the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy negotiated the spending provisions in the legislation, as well as those in two previous coronavirus relief packages. He worked to apply a small-state minimum funding formula to a $150 billion provision intended to support state and county governments, his office said. As a result, Vermont is slated to receive $1.25 billion through the program.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Bernie Sanders
Sanders Skips Key Vote on Coronavirus Rescue Package

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 12:08 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders addressing supporters Sunday night from his campaign office in Burlington - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders addressing supporters Sunday night from his campaign office in Burlington
During a campaign livestream Sunday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) railed against a $1.8 trillion package meant to prop up the economy and deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic.

"I do have to say that I was really stunned to read aspects of the Republican bill that has been proposed," he told his viewers.

But an hour earlier, when that same bill came up for a key vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sanders was nowhere to be seen. Unlike most of his colleagues, who were in Washington, D.C., Sanders was back home in Vermont, preparing to address supporters from his Burlington campaign office.

Republicans needed 60 votes on Sunday to advance the bill, which would provide $1,200 cash payments to most Americans, extend unemployment benefits, and bail out businesses, states and local governments. The procedural vote ended in a 47-47 tie. Vermont's other U.S. senator, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), opposed it.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bernie Sanders
After More Losses, Sanders to 'Assess' Campaign

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 8:56 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
Updated at 5:16 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is reconsidering his role in the presidential race, campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a written statement Wednesday morning.

"The next primary contest is at least three weeks away," Shakir wrote. "Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign."

In the meantime, Shakir continued, the senator "is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable."

Asked by a CNN reporter at the U.S. capitol on Wednesday for more details about the state of his candidacy, Sanders said, “Anybody who suggests that at this point we are ending the campaign is not telling the truth.”

Later on Wednesday, Sanders erupted at a group of reporters when asked again about his campaign. “I’m dealing with a fucking global crisis,” he said, adding, “Right now, I’m trying to do my best to make sure that we don’t have an economic meltdown and that people don’t die. Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?”

The remarks came a day after former vice president Joe Biden defeated Sanders in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, widening his lead by at least 133 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Biden now has 1,147 pledged delegates, and Sanders has 861.

In recent days, several states have delayed primaries in response to public health concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Puerto Rico is currently scheduled to hold a primary on March 29, and Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming are slated to vote April 4.

The Sanders campaign has suspended all television and digital advertising for the time being in order to conserve resources, according to spokesperson Mike Casca.

In an email to supporters Monday morning, Shakir was blunt. “No sugarcoating it, last night did not go the way we wanted,” he wrote. “And while our campaign has won the battle of ideas, we are losing the battle over electability to Joe Biden.”

According to Shakir, Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, plan to return to Vermont after he casts votes on a coronavirus relief package. “Once there, they’ll begin holding conversations with supporters to get input and assess the path forward for our campaign,” Shakir wrote.
As Seven Days reported this week, the outbreak has complicated Sanders' hopes of staging a comeback after falling behind on Super Tuesday. "He's gotta figure out how he wins something," said Mark Longabaugh, who served as a senior adviser on Sanders' 2016 campaign.

Though Sanders has not publicly indicated he would drop out of the campaign, he also has not vowed to fight on to its conclusion. Often in politics, statements that a candidate is reassessing his or her role in a race are followed by the candidate’s withdrawal.

On Tuesday night, Sanders delivered remarks from his campaign office in Washington, D.C., outlining several policy proposals to address the coronavirus crisis. Those included a $2,000 monthly payment to every American, free healthcare for the duration of the outbreak and stronger enforcement measures to crack down on price gouging.

For the second week in a row, Sanders did not immediately respond to the day’s election results.

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Monday, March 16, 2020

Bernie Sanders
A Virus Takes Center Stage as Biden and Sanders Debate

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 1:12 AM

Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders preparing to debate Sunday night in Washington, D.C. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Associated Press
  • Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders preparing to debate Sunday night in Washington, D.C.
They greeted each other with an elbow bump and discussed their personal hygiene strategies. They were asked whether they would order a national lockdown or deploy the military to fight a disease. Their every cough and face-swipe drew notice.

For a time at Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate — broadcast from an audience-free studio in Washington, D.C. — nothing seemed normal. With a global pandemic sweeping through the United States, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sought to meet the gravity of the moment and offer a contrast to President Donald Trump, whose response to the spread of coronavirus they criticized.

“We need unprecedented action right now to deal with the unprecedented crisis,” Sanders said.

“We're at war with a virus,” Biden said. “In a war, you do whatever is needed to be done to take care of your people.”

It didn’t take long, however, for the candidates to return to more familiar terrain, with Sanders arguing that, under his "Medicare for All" plan, Americans would be better prepared to fight the outbreak. “Let’s be honest and understand that this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current health care system,” he said.

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Bernie Sanders
Coronavirus Pandemic Requires a Health Care Reckoning, Sanders Says

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 5:05 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday - DEREK BROUWER
  • Derek Brouwer
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday
Speaking from Burlington on Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made his case that the unfolding coronavirus pandemic has exposed the "absurdity" of the country's economic and health care systems. 

"In this moment of crisis, more and more people understand that we need fundamental changes to our economy, we need fundamental changes to our heath care system," he told reporters at Hotel Vermont, where he has delivered remarks every day since Wednesday.

On Thursday, Sanders compared the pandemic to a world war and called for proportional emergency response. Friday's comments signaled that the Democratic presidential candidate sees coronavirus as a chance to broaden the appeal of "Medicare for All" and other proposals that his opponents for months have cast as too radical.
"If this isn't a red flag for the current dysfunctional and wasteful health care system, frankly, I don't know what is," Sanders said.

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