June 21, 2021

Weekly Column: Health Care Flexibilities--Lessons Learned From The Pandemic

Telehealth services have been especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Idaho Department of Insurance, telemedicine visits went from 200 appointments per month to 28,000 visits in April 2020 alone. We can use lessons-learned from the expansion of telehealth and other flexibilities to make sensible changes that can better enable Idahoans' access to quality care going forward. Information on the impact of expanded telehealth on access, quality and cost helps guide permane… Continue Reading

June 14, 2021

Weekly Column: From The Mailbag--Supreme Court Packing

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces. Realizing that many may not have the chance to contact me, I post information about various issues of importance on my website, http://crapo.senate.gov. One of the issues Idahoans have contacted me about is the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, especially in the wake of President Biden's new Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. The follow… Continue Reading

June 07, 2021

Weekly Column: Protecting Idahoans From Unemployment Fraud

As Idahoans and Americans across our country are working hard to overcome the incredible challenges of the past year and turn the corner on the pandemic, we as a nation, unfortunately, must do more to deter criminals from abusing taxpayer-funded unemployment assistance to ensure taxpayer funds reach Americans truly in need of assistance. l joined U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, in introducing the Combatting COVID Unemployment Frau… Continue Reading

May 31, 2021

Weekly Column: Idaho's Gold Star Families Memorial Monument

We recently had the opportunity to join in celebrating the completion of a very special project in Pocatello that is yet another reminder of the magnitude of respect and gratitude Idahoans have for the extraordinary Americans who serve in our country's Armed Forces. Idaho is now home to one of our nation's Gold Star Families Memorials thanks to the hard work and dedication of many Idahoans. This Memorial Day, as we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of Americans lost in service to our na… Continue Reading

May 24, 2021

Weekly Column: Following Idaho's Lead On Getting Employees Safely Back To Work

Alex Adams, Administrator of the Idaho Division of Financial Management, shared remarkable results of Idaho's Return to Work bonuses at a House Ways and Means Committee panel discussion in March. He cited Idaho's unemployment rate as among the lowest in the country [at 3.2 percent in March], due in part to Idaho's Return to Work bonuses and other actions Idaho Governor Brad Little took last year. He reported Idaho not only averted an unemployment insurance trust fund crisis, but also grew the … Continue Reading

May 17, 2021

Weekly Column: Confronting China The Idaho Way--By Innovating Out-Competing And Reflecting Our Values

China is a potent challenge to the United States on several levels--economic, strategic and moral. Republicans and Democrats can--and should--work together to formulate a China policy that can effectively confront these challenges. As Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, I stressed this message at a recent Finance Committee hearing. There is no need for a Republican or Democrat policy on China, just an American policy. An American policy is precisely that: it reflects the bes… Continue Reading

May 10, 2021

Weekly Column: Tax Filing Complexities Highlight The Need For Easing Idahoans' Tax Filing Burdens

Tax filing season and Economic Impact Payment issues are the most frequent federal tax-related topics I hear about from Idahoans. Since coronavirus relief programs have resulted in extra paperwork for taxpayers this year and nearly constant updates of tax preparation systems, I called for extending the federal tax filing deadline, now set for May 17. Amid the extended tax filing season, the Senate Finance Committee, on which I serve as Ranking Member, held a hearing with IRS Commissioner Char… Continue Reading

May 03, 2021

Weekly Column: Protecting Idaho Water Rights

Effective management of water resources affects the vitality of communities and their ability to grow and develop. Respecting water rights is a central factor in the management of water resources. I have been a longtime opponent of federal agencies eroding states' water rights practices. I have authored and introduced legislation in multiple congresses to prevent federal encroachment on the management of water resources, best controlled at the state and local levels. I am again backing legis… Continue Reading

April 26, 2021

Weekly Column: An Attack On States' Rights And Minority Opinions

Over the last few weeks, I have heard from many Idahoans expressing their concerns with H.R. 1 and S. 1, the "For the People Act." I share these concerns. This patently unconstitutional legislation looks a lot more like a "For the Bureaucrats" bill. It would circumvent our entire elections process and stifle freedom of speech. H.R. 1 would federalize our election process and strip states of election authorities guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. Participation in the electoral proc… Continue Reading

April 19, 2021

Weekly Column: Removing Red Tape Preventing Combat-Injured Veterans From Receiving Full Benefits

Idahoans' input is extremely helpful as we work together to ensure federal laws are sound and federal services are accessible and effective. A great example is the time SMSgt. Jeremy Kitzhaber, U.S. Air Force (Retired), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 63 Legislative Committee Chairman, of Boise, and his wife, Sharette, have taken to discuss veterans-related policy, including ensuring medically retired and combat-injured veterans receive full compensation earned through their service to our … Continue Reading

April 12, 2021

Weekly Column: Legislating For Idaho

As the 117th Congress is now in full swing, legislation is being reintroduced and work is underway on needed policy changes. Following is a brief overview of important legislation I am working with fellow senators to reintroduce this Congress. Energy Work continues with a bipartisan group of senators to update and reintroduce the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA). This legislation further facilitates our nuclear competitiveness. ANIA ensures the research conducted at the Idaho N… Continue Reading

April 05, 2021

Weekly Column: Sound Immigration Reform

Throughout my time in Congress, I have consistently maintained there is a real need for a rational immigration policy built on several important principles. I have weighed past immigration reform legislation against these principles, and have voted against immigration reform efforts that do not meet them. I continue to use them as a guide for consideration of current immigration reform proposals: First, the United States must commit the resources necessary to have the strongest border enfo… Continue Reading

March 29, 2021

Weekly Column: Supporting Idaho Manufacturing Through A Competitive Federal Tax Code

A vibrant manufacturing sector is a cornerstone of strong economic activity and jobs here in Idaho and across America. Manufacturing accounts for more than 106,000 jobs in Idaho and 9.97 percent of Idaho's workforce with an output valued at $10.4 billion, according to 2018 and 2019 data compiled by the Idaho Department of Commerce. Nationwide, the manufacturing sector accounted for 15.7 percent of our country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 and 14.6 percent of Idaho's GDP. To help make… Continue Reading

March 22, 2021

Weekly Column: Scrutinizing Federal Regulation

Major federal rules must be rare and well-reasoned, given their outsized impact. While Congress has enacted legislation attempting to curb federal overregulation, we cannot let up in working to ensure American productivity is not stymied by federal mandates. I joined a bipartisan group of fellow senators in reintroducing legislation that would help keep federal regulation in check. On January 27, I joined in reintroducing S. 68, the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) … Continue Reading

March 15, 2021

Weekly Column: As In The Past, COVID Relief Should Be Bipartisan, Targeted

Prior to the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan, Congress came together five times to pass bipartisan bills totaling roughly $4 trillion to help Americans weather the pandemic. Recent economic projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provide proof of their effectiveness, predicting a robust economic recovery. We should be encouraged by this, as well as vaccine distribution underway, and look to fill any gaps in the response instead of just piling more taxpayer dollars on … Continue Reading

March 08, 2021

Weekly Column: Working Hard For Idahoans As Finance Committee Ranking Member--Trade Policy Focus

Free and fair trade is vital for Idaho's $4 billion export industry. As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over reciprocal trade agreements, tariffs and import quotas, I have welcomed the opportunity to continue to work to ensure fair and open market opportunities for Idaho and U.S. goods. Over the past few weeks, I have released two guest columns outlining priorities in three key areas of the Committee's jurisdiction-tax, health care and trade. This third and f… Continue Reading

March 01, 2021

Weekly Column: Working Hard For Idahoans As Finance Committee Ranking Member--Health Care Focus

As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, I continue to bring Idaho values of conservatism and commonsense to the work of the Committee. In a three-part guest column series, I am outlining priorities in three key areas of the Committee's jurisdiction-tax, health care and trade. This second of the three columns is focused on federal health care priorities. In the 117th Congress, I intend to work with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and all members of the Committ… Continue Reading

February 22, 2021

Weekly Column: Working Hard For Idahoans As Finance Committee Ranking Member--Tax Policy Focus

Serving on the Senate Finance Committee has given me the opportunity to help make a positive difference in shaping important policy affecting the lives of Idahoans and all Americans. The Committee's extensive jurisdiction includes federal tax policy; federal social safety net and health care programs; and implementation of reciprocal foreign trade agreements. I always look for opportunities to simplify our tax code, create jobs and help Idahoans save for retirement. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs… Continue Reading

February 15, 2021

Weekly Column: Faulty Budgeting

Over the last year, Congress has come together multiple times to pass massive, bipartisan bills totaling trillions of dollars in relief measures to back the medical response and help American families and businesses weather the pandemic. I have been encouraged by this bipartisan approach, and recent economic projections from the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that already-enacted pandemic-related provisions, built upon the strong fiscal policy foundation we already have in place, … Continue Reading

February 08, 2021

Weekly Column: Third Federal Judge For Idaho

In 1953, then-U.S. Senator Herman Welker (R-Idaho), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made a convincing case for the addition of a second federal judgeship for Idaho at a Judiciary subcommittee hearing. The Senator cited the increase in cases, rising case backload and considerable distance between places of holding court for the only federal judge in Idaho at the time. He asked, "How long can this able jurist physically and mentally stand this tremendous workload?" In 1954, Congress… Continue Reading

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