The Leahy Letter - April 30, 2010

Oil Spill Disaster Continues To Spread In Gulf of Mexico

Last week, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 40 miles off the Louisiana coastline resulted in the loss of eleven workers and massive leaking of thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day.  In damage to fragile ocean and coastal ecosystems alone, this accident may become the worst environmental disaster in recent years.

Senator Leahy said this incident reminds us "of some of the high human, environmental and economic costs associated with the extraction of fossil fuels."  Senator Leahy supports inquiries into what happened last week and how the United States can move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable and clean energy.  You can read his full statement here.

Leahy Gains DHS Promise For Meeting On Proposed Border Station

The Senate Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing this week on the Department of Homeland Security.  DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano testified.  As the panel's chairman, Senator Leahy asked Secretary Napolitano about the controversy surrounding the proposed replacement of a border crossing facility at Morses Line, Vt.  During the exchange, Senator Leahy secured a pledge for a public meeting to be held near the crossing point in Vermont.

You can watch the exchange or read the transcript here.

Agriculture Committee Passes Wall Street Reform Bill, To Be Included In Larger Senate Bill

Last week, on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Leahy supported committee passage of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act, which is intended to bring full transparency to financial markets, prevent future bailouts and keep jobs on Main Street.  The bipartisan Agriculture Committee reform bill prohibits the Federal Reserve and FDIC from providing any federal funds to bail out Wall Street firms that engage in risky derivative deals.  This bill is expected to be merged with the financial reform bill currently being debated on the Senate floor.

“This bill will bring the $600 trillion derivatives market out of the dark and into the light of day,” said Senator Leahy.  You can read the full release here.

New Bill Would Remedy Supreme Court's Campaign Finance Ruling

Yesterday, Senator Leahy joined other Senate leaders in introducing a bill that will address the Supreme Court's decision earlier this year in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, in which five Justices overturned decades of campaign finance law, as well as the Court’s own precedent.  Senator Leahy has been a leading voice against this decision and supports the new DISCLOSE Act to help lessen corporate influence in elections. You can read more about this legislation and how it will affect national elections here.

Postcards From Home - Vermont National Guard YouTube Project

Postcards From Home featured

Earlier this month, Senator Leahy launched Postcards From Home, a video project dedicated to Vermonters in the armed services who are currently serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other locations across the globe.  Among the messages posted are several from Vermonters at the VFW Post #782 in Winooski.  There are also video messages from Senator Leahy, his wife Marcelle, General Michael Dubie, and Governor Jim Douglas.

Senator Leahy invites YOU to create your own video messages for the troops and post them to his YouTube page.

You can learn more about this project on Senator Leahy’s website at www.leahy.senate.gov/PostcardsFromHome.

Special Events - You Still Have Time To Register

May 15 - 14th Annual Women's Economic Opportunity Conference

Mark your calendars for the upcoming 14th annual Women's Economic Opportunity Conference. Many Vermonters have had to adapt to Vermont's and the country's economic  climate, including by changing careers. Last fall the Women's Conference  focused on the universality of women and their ability to view  themselves in many different career capacities. The next conference on May 15 will offer workshops with fresh perspectives, along with sessions that expand on the tools offered last fall, to help you get to the next level of your professional development or business planning.  The conference's keynorer will be Karen Mills, the Administrator for the U.S. Small  Business Administration. Click here for more info or to register for the Conference.

News You Can Use - Health Insurance Tax Credit for Small Businesses

Included in the recently enacted health insurance reform law are many provisions that can help small businesses in Vermont afford health insurance for their employees. Beginning immediately, to help small businesses bridge the current affordability gap in providing health insurance for their employees, a bridge tax credit is available to small firms with 25 or fewer employees who have average annual wages of $50,000 or less. The full credit provides up to 35 percent of a qualifying small business employer's contribution to employee health care costs.

For more information or to learn if your small business or small tax-exempt organization qualifies for this tax credit, you can visit the IRS website.

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693