I Stand With Those Working to Build a Future of Equality and Peace in Israel and Palestine


Last week was devastating for both Israelis and Palestinians. The actions of government-allied right wing extremists in Jerusalem led to an 11-day conflict that left hundreds dead — most of them Palestinians — and over 72,000 Gazans displaced from their homes. The conflict damaged hospitals and health clinics, destroyed water and sewage infrastructure, and closed schools. I’m very grateful that a ceasefire agreement was reached and began early Friday morning. I hope it holds.

As the conflict raged, I went to the floor of the U.S. Senate to call for an immediate cease-fire. View the full speech here.


The U.S. most not turn away in this moment. Our job now is to support desperately needed humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Gaza’s people, and find a way to finally bring peace to the region. Read my op-ed on the even-handed approach I believe the U.S. must take to recognize that Israel has the absolute right to live in peace and security, but so do the Palestinians. If the United States is going to be a credible voice on human rights on the global stage, we must uphold international standards of human rights consistently, even when it is politically difficult. We must recognize that Palestinian rights matter. Palestinian lives matter.

I stand in solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis working to build a future of equality and peaceful coexistence. My thoughts are with all who are experiencing the devastating consequences of this violent week.


We Must Address the Health Care Workforce Shortage


It’s no secret that our health care system is dysfunctional in many ways, but one of the most critical is that we are facing a major doctor shortage. Currently in the United States, 25% of Americans already live in areas that have workforce shortages, and it’s predicted that by 2033 we will face a shortage of 139,000 physicians. Last week I held a hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee to discuss this massive workforce crisis and the need to address it. During the hearing, I announced the introduction of legislation that would:

  • increase funding for the National Health Service Corps by $1 billion per year for ten years;
  • permanently authorize the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program;
  • authorize 14,000 new Medicare-supported medical residency positions over seven years;
  • and establish new criteria for how the new Graduate Medical Education (GME) training positions are allotted at qualifying hospitals.

It’s simple: in the richest country in the history of the world, all communities should have access to doctors, nurses, dentists, and other medical professionals. Watch the full hearing below. 


The Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage Continues


If McDonalds can pay their CEO a $10 million salary, they can pay their workers a livable wage. Last week I joined a virtual conversation with McDonalds workers who are on strike fighting for a $15 minimum wage. I am very proud to stand with these workers who are making history. Through their efforts and the efforts of activists around the country, raising the minimum wage is no longer a radical idea. It’s supported by 60% of the American people. Let’s keep up the fight to ensure that all workers can live with dignity. Watch the full discussion here and read about the legislation I reintroduced in January to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour here.


We Must End Waste, Fraud, and Cost Overruns at the Pentagon


As many of you may know, the United States spends more on our nation’s military than the next twelve countries combined and over half of our discretionary spending goes to the Pentagon. It is completely unacceptable that the Pentagon remains the only agency in the federal government that cannot pass an independent audit. Meanwhile, half of our people are struggling paycheck to paycheck, over 40 million Americans are living in poverty, and over 500,000 Americans are homeless. If we are serious about spending taxpayer dollars wisely and effectively, we must end this absurdity. Earlier this month I held a Senate Budget Committee hearing on wasteful Pentagon spending. Last Wednesday, I introduced legislation to require the Department of Defense to finally pass a full independent audit beginning in fiscal year 2022. The bill would require each branch of the military and part of the DOD that fails to obtain a clean audit return one percent of its budget to the treasury.


When it comes to military spending, I suggest we listen to the words of former President Eisenhower, which are still very true today: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” We must hold the Defense Department to the same level of accountability as the rest of the government. It’s the very least we can do.


How Can We Help?

My Burlington office has a team of experienced caseworkers who help Vermonters navigate federal agencies every day. If you think my office can help you, please do not hesitate to call 1-800-339-9834 or (802) 862-0697, or click here

If you would like to share your thoughts on pending legislation, or if you have an idea that we could address through new legislation, click here