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Sen. Patrick Leahy

11/14/08 12:00PM By Bob Kinzel

Sen. Leahy says Sen. Joe Lieberman should not be rewarded with a major chairmanship in the next Senate.  Leahy also comments on Vice President Dick Cheney's email and records and the need to ensure they are saved and not destroyed.

Leahy is now one of the most senior members of the U.S. Senate, a position that comes with significant power. Host Bob Kinzel talks with Senator Leahy about the last session of the current Senate, and the issues that the next Congress will need to tackle.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Patrick Leahy

Click here to listen to Leahy's comments about Senator Joe Lieberman

Also in the program, news analysis from VPR's top reporters. (Listen)

And we listen back to some of the voices in this week's news.(Listen)


Listener comments and questions:

Ted in Burlington:
In the recent NYT Magazine article about the imperial presidency in which you
are featured prominently your colleagues whom i assume you respect greatly John Warner and Arlen Specter appeared to have caved to the will of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. What explicit and concrete assurance can you give us that your body of government will work to reign in this idea of an imperial presidency? How do you plan to overturn the Bush backed amendments to FISA?

Doug in Huntington:
Senator Leahy, when will the Patriot Act, and all the damage done to the constitution, be repealed?

Annie in Essex:
We are a mobile society, but we ignore the need to change how we get around, and how much we do so, at our peril. Taxpayer money would be better spent if invested in infrastructure to support more public transportation -- light rail, freight rail, buses, and repairs to existing roads and bridges, as well as construction of bicycle friendly lanes on existing roads. I agree with Senator Leahy that if we are to have a competitive auto industry in America, we should design more energy-efficient cars; but we should also consider retooling Detroit and other manufacturing cities to build vehicles for efficient mass public transportation. We are not facing our future realistically if we do not confront our romance with the single occupancy vehicle.

Anita in Brookfield:
The notion that we have to continually grow the economy is pervasive. But continual growth requires continual inputs of energy and resources. Given that we are looking at a future with energy constraints that will have result in costly energy, as well as diminished natural resources, how do you propose to deal with this? Can you imagine how to usher in an economy that doesn't depend on continual growth and infusions of cheap unlimited energy?

Beth in Saint Johnsbury:
First, Congress passed the Green Jobs Act in 2007, which would train 30,000 people a year to do green construction, install solar panels, and so on -- putting Americans to work at jobs that will cut our dependence on oil. Would you make funding that bill a priority the next time the Congress is in session? Second, a federal investment of $100 billion could create two million new, "green-collar" jobs in just two years, according to Van Jones of Oakland, California, author of The Green Economy. Would you support such a measure to put Americans to work in ways that will strengthen our energy economy?

Jane Olesen:
With the average price per gallon for gas in the US right around $2.18 (per AAA) it seems as if Vermont's gas prices are still higher than most places in the US and New England. What can be done about this? It seems as if price gouging is running rampant and nothing at all is being done.

Scott in St. Johnsbury:
No question that the domestic auto companies have missed the boat on fuel-efficient cars up to now. One reason is a nation-wide ostrich approach to the perils of our petroleum-based economy. If the present crises don't provide in opportunity for new approaches, what will? Can the Democrats... implement a tax structure that encourages transition to other fuel sources? A carbon tax could be fashioned that brings a steady -- and predictable -- rise in petroleum fuels in a way that will not ruin the economy but will send the message to the public and the marketplace. Such a tax structure could also hold harmless low-income households, if done carefully. Why not?

Hank in Morrisville:
I here all this talk about diversifying the market. I am not seeing it in the bailout. I have a plan of 5.6% of the $760 billion. This amount is $40 billion which can be given to four million people in foreclosure at an amount of $10,000 to renegotiate with the banks a fixed interest rate of 6.5% (instead of AIG having a party valued at a price of more than I will make in my entire life). Also, mandate that box stores make their space available to give infrastructure for solar.



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