Weekly Column: Follow Up: Legislative Advancements This Congress
Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
An important part of representing Idahoans in the U.S. Senate is keeping folks informed about legislation advancing in Congress. In December, I provided a year-end review of some legislative highlights from the first year of the 116th Congress. The following is a more detailed account of the advancement of legislation I have advocated for on behalf of Idahoans.
I introduced or co-led the following bills that were enacted into law prior to the end of last year either as standalone legislation or as part of larger pieces of legislation:
The Owyhee Wilderness Areas Boundary Modifications Act, which made boundary changes for three wilderness areas in Owyhee County;
A two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act;
The Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act of 2019 to repeal the unfair law preventing as many as 65,000 surviving military spouses nationwide from receiving their full U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs survivor benefits;
Legislation to improve the Transition Assistance Program that provides assistance to servicemembers returning to civilian life;
A measure to direct the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, in coordination with the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency and other interagency partners, to submit to Congress a plan for strengthening the supply chain intelligence function;
The Protect Medical Innovation Act that would permanently repeal the medical device tax;
Provisions to automate the system for verifying loan applicants’ incomes to enable efficient access to capital;
Statute improving taxpayer protections against and recourse for wrongful Internal Revenue Service seizures of personal property in criminal investigations;
A five-year extension of the tax credit for railroad tax maintenance to help improve the link between our rural communities and the national freight railroad network; and
The Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act that would prevent federal transit funds from being used by transit agencies to procure Chinese rail assets and ensure transit agencies develop and execute a cybersecurity plan.
The Senate also advanced a number of bills I introduced or co-led that have not yet been enacted into law. As part of a larger wildlife conservation package, the Senate passed the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, a bill I introduced to improve the availability of resources to support local fish habitat conservation efforts. Senate committees also passed the following bills I backed that await further action by the full Senate:
The Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act that would require the Federal Communications Commission to report to Congress on the effectiveness of call blocking programs;
The Department of Energy National Labs Jobs ACCESS Act that would prepare the next generation of American workers to work at the country’s National Laboratories and the National Nuclear Security Administration by ensuring they gain the training and skills needed to succeed;
The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act that aims to reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy; and
The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act that would provide a more orderly, deliberative budget process focused on long-term fiscal planning.
In addition to these bills enacted into law or advanced through committee in the Senate, I have introduced and advocated for many other pieces of legislation on behalf of Idahoans. The legislation covers various topics including bills to ensure Idahoans have access to an efficient court system; lower prescription drug prices; Second Amendment rights; quality veterans services; retirement savings; a comprehensive national energy strategy; markets for Idaho goods; and much more. I continue to work on these and many other efforts on behalf of the people of our great state as work continues in the second half of the 116th Congress.