Vermont is Third State to Pass Citizens' United Resolution

Last week, Vermont became the third state to pass a resolution called for Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court Citizens’ United decision.

The resolution, which asks for an amendment that says money is not speech and corporations are not people, passed Vermont’s House 92-40, and the previous week in the Senate, 26-3. 

Only two other states have passed such resolutions: Hawaii and New Mexico.  

A constitutional amendment requires 38 states and two-thirds of Congress to pass. The 78-member Congressional Progressive Caucus voted unanimously in support of a constitutional amendment.

Vermont’s resolution is the result of months of campaigning by local activists. 65 towns pass statements supporting a state resolution last month. 

Let’s hope Vermont also has the courage to move against Monsanto and do what 90% of residents want – labeling of GMOs.

Political Spending & Lack of US Energy Policy

Speaking on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" last Friday, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) connected the dots between out-of-control political spending spawned by Citizens’ United, and the lack of a US energy policy that addresses climate change.

In 2010, his climate change bill, co-sponsored Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) collapsed without ever coming to a vote.

"The reason we don’t have a solid energy policy in America, I have come to believe after leading the effort two years ago to try and get one, is that there are powerful interests in the country that spend an enormous amount of money to preserve the status quo," Kerry said. 

"We had an agreement a couple years ago … with the utilities, with the nuclear industry, with the major oil people, and unfortunately some major coal-fired power plant people were able to spend a lot of money, influence a lot of people and say we are simply not going to move forward with pricing carbon or doing anything that puts America into a better position because they like the cash-cow power plants that they have now fired by coal, and so that’s what freezes it," he added.

The Senate cap-and-trade bill would have set national caps on greenhouse gas emissions for the top polluting industries and the stronger House version also included a National Portfolio Standard that required utilities to source 15% of electricity from renewable energy by 2015. That would have triggered the certainty needed by corporations and investors to invest long term in renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel use.
Many of the biggest corporations and utilities supported it and even created an advocacy group, The Climate Action Partnership, with members such as GE, Dow Chemical and Duke Energy.

But the coal and oil industries lobbied hard against it.

Even though Kerry’s bill was much weaker than most experts wanted – including "massive giveaways to polluting special interests and failing to ensure a rapid transition to clean energy  – it still couldn’t make headway, and was "declared dead."

"So you have gridlock in Washington, mostly because of the amount of money in the system. I’m telling you, Citizens United is robbing America of its democratic process, it is stealing the agenda, and it is allowing the largest amount of money to set the agenda."

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