Socialist Jr Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)
Tax wealth stashed in Caymans to rebuild our infrastructure
Who in America denies that we have an infrastructure that is crumbling? Roads, bridges, water systems, wastewater plants, who denies that? I will do away with the outrageous loopholes that allow profitable multinational corporations to stash billions of
dollars in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and in a given year pay zero, zero in federal income tax. We will use those proceeds, a hundred billion a year, to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure.
Source: 2016 PBS Democratic debate in Wisconsin
, Feb 11, 2016
Net Neutrality: no preferential treatment for corporations
Net neutrality means that all data on ISP networks should be treated on an equal basis. Permitting preferential treatment of web traffic would put newer internet companies at a disadvantage and threaten innovation. It is a fundamental free speech issue
that could give corporations even more control over our access to information. Bernie has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to enforce net neutrality:
The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2015 would prevent Internet providers
from creating a "fast lane" for paying content providers and would enforce net neutrality over preferential treatment .
In 2007, Bernie introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act,
which would have required broadband service providers to adhere to neutrality provisions and other regulations.
In 2006, Bernie introduced the Network Neutrality Act, which also would have enforced net neutrality on broadband providers.
I support funding NASA, but our planet has to come first
Q: Does Bernie support funding for space exploration?
A: Bernie believes space exploration is beneficial and exciting, and is generally supportive of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but when it comes to a limited federal
budget, Bernie's vote is to take care of the needs of struggling Americans on this planet first. Bernie says, "I am supportive of NASA not only because of the excitement of space exploration, but because of all the additional side benefits
we receive from research in that area. Sometimes, and frankly I don't remember all of those votes, one is put in a position of having to make very very difficult choices about whether you vote to provide food for
hungry kids or health care for people who have none and other programs. But, in general, I do support increasing funding for NASA."
Stop bailing out Wall Street & start repairing Main Street
Our infrastructure is collapsing, and Americans know it. They see it every day in the potholes they drive over, the bridges in their communities that have been shut down and the water pipes that burst.
Is this the best our country can do? No.
We can and we must do better. That's why we need to invest at least $1 trillion over five years to rebuild America. This will not only make us safer, more productive and more efficient, but it will generate income and create jobs--lots of jobs.
The estimate is that this $1 trillion investment will create and maintain 13 million jobs--which is exactly what our economy needs. We have ignored our infrastructure crisis for too long. The time to act is now.
There's a reason that investing in our
infrastructure has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress. It's a good idea. This funding should receive the highest priority.
It's high time we stopped bailing out Wall Street and started repairing Main Street.
Rebuilding Our Crumbling Infrastructure: We need a major investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure: roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports, railroads and schools. The Bush-Cheney Iraq War will total
$3 trillion by the time the last veteran receives needed care. A $1 trillion investment in infrastructure could create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive. We need to invest in infrastructure, not more war.
Source: 12 Steps Forward, by Sen. Bernie Sanders
, Jan 15, 2015
Invest in infrastructure: My water system is 150 years old
I think if our goal is to create the millions of jobs we need, a better way to do that is to invest heavily in our infrastructure. The truth is, the infrastructure in the US is crumbling. You do not have to be a civil engineer to know that. All you have
to do is get in your car today and drive someplace. What you are going to see are roads that are in disrepair. You are going to see bridges that, in some cases, have actually been shut down.
I was in Rutland Vermont; the mayor showed me a piece of
pipe, an old piece of pipe. He said: "You know, the engineer who helped develop this water system and lay this pipe, after he did this work for Rutland, he went off to fight in the war." I knew there was a catch line coming. I said: "What war was it?"
He said: "It was the Civil War." This is true all over the US. The result is, we lose an enormous amount of clean water every day through leaks and water pipes bursting. The point is, when you invest in infrastructure, you get a bigger bang for the buck
Infrastructure does not get better if you ignore it
What most economists would tell you is when you invest in infrastructure, you get a bigger bang for the buck. When you invest in infrastructure, you are improving the future of this country. You are making us more productive. It is not just creating
jobs, it is creating jobs for very specific purposes, which makes our Nation more productive and efficient.
Let me tell you something as a former mayor: infrastructure does not get better if you ignore it. You can turn your back, if you are a mayor or
Governor, on the roads and the highways because you do not have the money to fix them today, but they are not going to get better next year. At some point, they are going to have to be repaired and fixed. We may as well do that right now.
I believe the
money, the very substantial sums of money in this agreement between the President and the Republicans, which goes into tax breaks for corporate America, could be effectively spent on infrastructure.
US invests 2.4% on infrastructure; Europe 5% and China 9%
The United States invests just 2.4% of GDP in infrastructure; whereas, Europe invests twice that amount. Here is something I think every American should be keenly aware of and very worried about. In China, they are investing almost four times our rate--
or 9%--of their GDP annually in their infrastructure.
Years ago, I was in Shanghai, China. There was a blur that went by the window. That blur was an experimental train they were working on--high-speed rail, which is now operational there, and other
similar prototypes are being developed in China. Here we are, the United States of America, which for so many years led the world in so many ways, and now you are seeing a newly developing country such as China with high-speed rail all over their
country, and in our cities, our subways are breaking down. Amtrak is going 50, 60 miles an hour, and the Chinese and Europeans have trains going hundreds of miles an hour.
Sued cable TV company to pay city for damaging streets
[As mayor of Burlington], after a court battle, the utilities were forced to pay for the damage done when they tore up our streets for utility work. Following a heated battle with a cable
TV company, and an effort on our part to create a municipally owned system, we managed to get substantial revenue from them and reduced rates for seniors.
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 62
, Jun 17, 1997
Voted YES on authorizing states to collect Internet sales taxes.
Congressional Summary: The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 authorizes each state to require all sellers with sales exceeding $1 million in the preceding calendar year to collect and remit sales and use taxes, but only if complying with the minimum simplification requirements relating to the administration of such taxes & audits.
Opponent's Argument for voting No (Cnet.com): Online retailers are objecting to S.743, saying it's unreasonable to expect small businesses to comply with the detailed--and sometimes conflicting--regulations of nearly 10,000 government tax collectors. S.743 caps years of lobbying by the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent big box stores. President Obama also supports the bill.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. COLLINS. This bill rectifies a fundamental unfairness in our current system. Right now, Main Street businesses have to collect sales taxes
on every transaction, but outbecause -of-state Internet sellers don't have to charge this tax, they enjoy a price advantage over the mom-and-pop businesses. This bill would allow States to collect sales taxes on Internet sales, thereby leveling the playing field with Main Street businesses. This bill does not authorize any new or higher tax, nor does it impose an Internet tax. It simply helps ensure that taxes already owed are paid.
Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. WYDEN: This bill takes a function that is now vested in government--State tax collection--and outsources that function to small online retailers. The proponents say it is not going to be hard for small businesses to handle this--via a lot of new computer software and the like. It is, in fact, not so simple. There are more than 5,000 taxing jurisdictions in our country. Some of them give very different treatment for products and services that are almost identical.
Reference: Marketplace Fairness Act;
; vote number 13-SV113
on May 6, 2013
Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.
Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.
Veto message from President Bush:
This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.
Voted YES on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet).
An amendment, sponsored by Rep Markey (D, MA) which establishes "network neutrality" by requiring that broadband network service providers have the following duties:
not to block or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the Internet;
to operate its broadband network in a nondiscriminatory manner so that any person can offer or provide content and services over the broadband network with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of a charge for such nondiscriminatory network operation;
if the provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.
Proponents say that network neutrality ensures that everybody is treated alike with regard to use of the Internet,
which has been a principle applied to Internet use since it was first originated. Proponents say that without network neutrality, large corporations will pay for exclusive preferential service and hence small websites will be relegated to a second tier of inferior service. Opponents say that the Markey amendment forsakes the free market in favor of government price controls, and would chill investment in broadband network and deployment of new broadband services, and would reduce choice for internet users. Voting YES favors the network neutrality viewpoint over the price control viewpoint.
Voted NO on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting.
Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005: Expresses the sense of Congress that broadcast television station licensees should reinstitute a family viewing policy for broadcasters. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide that for violators of any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, if a violator is determined by the FCC to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane material, the amount of forfeiture penalty shall not exceed $500,000 for each violation. Sets forth:
additional factors for determining indecency penalties;
indecency penalties for non-licensees;
deadlines for actions on complaints;
additional remedies for indecent broadcasts; and
provisions for license disqualification, revocation, or renewal consideration for violations of indecency prohibitions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6];
; vote number 2005-035
on Feb 16, 2005
Voted NO on promoting commercial human space flight industry.
Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004: States that Congress finds that:
the goal of safely opening space to the American people and to their private commercial enterprises should guide Federal space investments, policies, and regulations;
private industry has begun to develop commercial launch vehicles capable of carrying human beings into space;
greater private investment in these efforts will stimulate the commercial space transportation industry;
space transportation is inherently risky, and the future of the commercial human space flight industry will depend on its ability to continually improve its safety performance; and
the regulatory standards governing human space flight must evolve as the industry matures so that regulations neither stifle technology development nor expose crew or space flight participants to avoidable risks as the public comes to expect greater safety for crew and space flight participants from the industry.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46];
; vote number 2004-541
on Nov 20, 2004
Voted YES on banning Internet gambling by credit card.
Internet Gambling Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit credit card companies and other financial institutions from processing Internet gambling transactions. Exempt from the ban would be state regulated or licensed transactions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Spencer, R-AL;
Bill HR 2143
; vote number 2003-255
on Jun 10, 2003
Voted NO on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access.
Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would allow the four regional Bell telephone companies to enter the high-speed Internet access market via their long-distance connections whether or not they have allowed competitors into their local markets as required under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The bill would allow the Bells to increase the fees they charge competitors for lines upgraded for broadband services from "wholesale rates" to "just and reasonable rates." It also would also allow the Bells to charge for giving competitors access to certain rights-of-way for broadband access. Certain FCC regulatory oversight would be maintained although the phone companies' high speed services would be exempted from regulation by the states.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Tauzin, R-LA;
Bill HR 1542
; vote number 2002-45
on Feb 27, 2002
Promote internet via Congressional Internet Caucus.
Sanders is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus:
Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.
Membership in the Congressional Internet Caucus is open to any Member of Congress who pledges support for the following goals:
Promoting growth and advancement of the Internet
Providing a bicameral, bipartisan forum for Internet concerns to be raised
Promoting the education of Members of Congress and their staffs about the Internet
Promoting commerce and free flow of information on the Internet
Advancing the United States' world leadership in the digital world
Maximizing the openness of and participation in government by the people.
Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001
Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.
Sanders co-sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services
A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:
The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in
41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.
Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.
Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007
Ensure net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet.
Sanders co-sponsored ensuring net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet
A bill to amend the communications act of 1934 to ensure net neutrality:
Broadband service providers shall not interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband service to access or offer any lawful content via the Internet;
only prioritize content or services based on the type of content or services and the level of service purchased by the user, without charge for such prioritization.
Sen. DORGAN. "The issue of Internet freedom is also known as net neutrality. I have long fought in Congress against media concentration, to prevent the consolidation of control over what Americans see in the media. Now, Americans face an equally great threat to the democratic vehicle of the Internet, which we have always taken for granted as an open and free engine for creative growth.
"The Internet became a robust engine of economic development by enabling anyone with a good idea to connect to consumers and compete on a level playing field for consumers' business.
The marketplace picked winners and losers, and not some central gatekeeper.
"But now we face a situation where the FCC has removed nondiscrimination rules that applied to Internet providers for years. Broadband operators soon thereafter announced their interest in acting in discriminatory ways, planning to create tiers on the Internet that could restrict content providers' access to the Internet unless they pay extra for faster speeds or better service. Under their plan, the Internet would become a new world where those content providers who can afford to pay special fees would have better access to consumers.
"This fundamentally changes the way the Internet has operated and threaten to derail the democratic nature of the Internet. American consumers and businesses will be worse off for it. Today we introduce the Internet Freedom Preservation Act to ensure that the Internet remains a platform that spawns innovation and economic development for generations to come."
Source: Internet Freedom Preservation Act (S.215) 2007-S215 on Jan 9, 2007
Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.
Sanders co-sponsored overturning FCC approval of media consolidation
Congressional Summary:Disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 22, 2008, relating to broadcast media ownership. Declares that the rule shall have no force or effect.
Proponents' Argument in Favor:Sen. DORGAN: The FCC loosened the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations. We seek with this resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC's fast march to ease media ownership rules. The FCC has taken a series of destructive actions in the past two decades that I believe have undermined the public interest. [Now they have given] a further green light to media concentration.
The FCC voted to allow cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the top 20 markets, with loopholes for mergers outside of the top 20 markets.
The newspapers would be allowed to buy stations ranked above fifth and above.
The rule change was framed as a modest compromise. But make no mistake, this is a big deal. As much as 44% of the population lives in the top 20 markets. The last time the FCC tried to do this, in 2003, the Senate voted to block it.
This rule will undercut localism and diversity of ownership around the country. Studies show that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced in the market as a whole. In addition, while the FCC suggests that cross-ownership is necessary to save failing newspapers, the publicly traded newspapers earn annual rates of return between 16% and 18%.
This Resolution of Disapproval will ensure this rule change has no effect. This is again a bipartisan effort to stop the FCC from destroying the local interests that we have always felt must be a part of broadcasting.
Source: S.J.RES.28&H.J.RES.79 2008-SJR28 on Mar 5, 2008