January 23, 2017

Priorities For The 115th Congress

The 115th Congress presents an opportunity to deliver real and lasting change for the American people. We must seize the moment to fundamentally change the course of our country to restore prosperity, stability and liberty. For far too long, we have let the enormous federal government curtail and hold back American ingenuity and opportunity through misguided central planning and political ideology. Replacing one-size-fits-all, top-down government controls should unleash the true entrepreneuri… Continue Reading

January 16, 2017

Time Is Wasting To Stop Medicare Bankruptcy

I recently wrote about the need to heed the Social Security Trustee's warnings and shore up Social Security. Like the requirements for the Social Security Trustees to annually assess the state of the trust funds that support the Social Security program, the Medicare Trustees are also required by law to report to Congress on the state of the Medicare trust funds. In June, the Medicare Trustees reported that Medicare's Part A Trust Fund is expected to be bankrupt in 2028, two years earlier than … Continue Reading

January 09, 2017

The Need To Shore Up Social Security Is Mounting

In its most recent report out in June, the Trustees of the Social Security trust fund provided another warning that Congress must act now to address the shortfalls of the Social Security trust fund. The trustees reported that the Social Security program will be "unable to pay scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis in 2034" and recommended that lawmakers address these shortfalls soon, so that "a broader range of solutions can be considered and more time will be available to phase in change… Continue Reading

January 02, 2017

From The Mailbag: The 21st Century Cures Act

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 the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website. The following is my response regardingthe 21 st Century Cures Act: I voted in favor of this important legislation. The 21 stCentury Cures Act, H.R. 34, is a landmark health care innovation package that will accelerate the disc… Continue Reading

December 26, 2016

Sharing An Idaho Christmas

The magnificent Englemann Spruce from the Payette National Forest that stands at the U.S. Capitol this Christmas is a small portion of the natural beauty that we are fortunate to have in Idaho.  Thank you to all the Idahoans who helped kick off the Christmas season by presenting the nation with the "People's Tree".  Let this tree be a sign of good cheer and the holiday season and bring us together. Picking the right tree and making sure it made it to our nation's capital safely was no small tas… Continue Reading

December 19, 2016

Idahoans Leading In Volunteer Service

The quiet service and giving spirit of Idahoans are among the many blessings I am counting this holiday season.  A recently released study from the Corporation for Community and National Service (CNCS) further confirmed the prevalent service in Idaho communities concluding that Idaho ranks fifth in the nation for volunteer service.  In its annual Volunteering and Civic Life in Americareport, CNCS estimated382,200 volunteers in Idaho provide 53.42 million hours of volunteer service with an… Continue Reading

December 12, 2016

Native American Heritage

A Haskett point from the Snake River is one of the historical items from Idaho on display in the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.  The museum dates the point's creation to a remarkable 10,000-6,000 BC.  The Native American tribes of Idaho-the Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute-are undoubtedly a deep and central part of Idaho's history and development.  Learning more about and celebrating this profound history can broaden our under… Continue Reading

December 05, 2016

No Veteran Should Face Homelessness

No veteran who has served our nation should return home to face homelessness, but yet it is happening.  Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports there were 49,933 homeless veterans on a single night in January 2014.  While the VA finds that homelessness among veterans is declining, work remains to end the homelessness of those who have given so much for us.  This fall, I had the opportunity to par… Continue Reading

November 23, 2016

Small Businesses: Heart of Communities

"America is small business . . . Too often, entrepreneurs are forgotten heroes.  We rarely hear about them.  But look into the heart of America, and you'll see them.  They're the owners of that store down the street, the faithfuls who support our churches, schools, and communities, the brave people everywhere who produce our goods, feed a hungry world, and keep our homes and families warm while they invest in the future to build a better America."  These words spoken by former President … Continue Reading

November 21, 2016

Heroes Among Us

For the past fourteen years, I have had the honor of recognizing some of the remarkable service of Idahoans with the Spirit of Freedom:  Idaho Veterans Service Award.  This award is presented in two categories:  veterans and volunteers who assist veterans.  Many of these Idahoans participated in formidable world events and returned home, raised families, built up our communities and continued to serve in many capacities assisting fellow Idahoans, including veterans and their families.  Their exa… Continue Reading

November 14, 2016

Capitol Christmas Tree: "An Idaho Mountain Gem"

Idaho is blessed with beautiful mountains and immense forests. In the winter the mountains and forests are covered with snow, making the landscape look like never ending clouds with skyscrapers covered in snow. Big tall trees. Beautiful to look at. Amazing to see. Pristine mountains. As I sit in the forest I find peace. As the wind blows through the tall ponderosa pines I feel a sense of solitude and peacefulness. To someone that has… Continue Reading

November 07, 2016

Idaho Rail Expansion Supporting Economic Activity

Idahoans living in communities across our large state create quality, innovative products, making access to reliable and affordable transportation options critical for the success of Idaho small businesses and agricultural producers.  Short line railroads are proven to be extremely efficient at moving Idaho goods to customers worldwide.  I had the opportunity to joinexecutives from Watco Companies, LLC; Burley Mayor Merlin Smedley; and other local officials in Burley to celebrate a major expansi… Continue Reading

October 31, 2016

America: Still To Build

"The American Journey has not ended.  America is never accomplished.  America is always still to build . . ." said former Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish in a 1961 speech. We are fortunate as Americans that we are active participants in governing our country.  The right to vote gives each of us an important voice.  It is more valuable when we recognize that the story of America has not fully been written.  The building of America is not done.  It will never be completely finished.  Wor… Continue Reading

October 24, 2016

"Audacious Executive Action"

It has been widely reported that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough declared in January that the Obama Administration would take "audacious executive action throughout the course of the rest of the year."  I rechecked the definition of the word "audacious" to try to get a clear sense of the Administration's stated approach.  The Oxford Dictionary's definition of "audacious" includes "showing an impudent lack of respect."  Words such as impertinent, insolent, presumptuous, cheeky, irrever… Continue Reading

October 17, 2016

Idaho State Police: Supporting Guard And Reserves

The men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve and their families give immensely of their time and talents to serving our nation.  Their skills and commitment also add great value to the workforce and our communities.  I had the opportunity to join fellow Idaho Senator Jim Risch in honoring the Idaho State Police (ISP) of Meridian, Idaho, for being selected as a recipient of the 2016 U.S. Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, known as the Freedom Award.  This award is a trib… Continue Reading

October 10, 2016

Cutting Red Tape To Improve Veterans' Access To Care

Idaho veterans and their family members have made it clear that the Veterans Choice Program (Choice program), created to make it easier for veterans to get health care, does not work for Idahoans.  To address concerns raised by Idaho veterans, I introduced the Improving Veterans Care in the Community Act of 2016, S. 3401, to make it easier for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to send veterans into their local communities for health care, to make it easier for veterans to access this … Continue Reading

October 03, 2016

We Cannot Lose More Veterans To Suicide

The newest data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shows that 20 veterans a day commit suicide.  Overall, the VA finds that the risk of suicide is 21 percent higher among veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adults.  The thought of any one veteran, who has given themselves in service to our country, let alone a staggering 20 veterans per day, feeling lost to the point of ending it all means that we, as a nation, must do better to ensure that veterans receive needed suppo… Continue Reading

September 26, 2016

Olympic Gold Cultivated In Idaho

The ripples of inspiration created by Olympians pushing themselves to reach extraordinary accomplishments will continuelong after the XXXI Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have drawn to a close.  We shall never know how many young people here at home or around the world tuned in this summer to see a favorite athlete do what to most would appear unattainable.  Olympic athletes spark hope that the seemingly impossible can be achieved.  Some of this inspiration and determination is be… Continue Reading

September 19, 2016

Idaho Is A Fantastic Vision For America

Thank you to the approximately 4,000 Idahoans who attended the town meetings I held in every incorporated city in Idaho over the past two years.  Your thoughtful insights reinforce my belief that the best solutions for good governing come from the ground up.  The angst in our country is clear.  Much of this frustration is driven by decisions and politics in Washington, DC.  I decided the best thing to do is to reach out to the entire state and listen, but not just listen in the traditional way,… Continue Reading

September 12, 2016

Emblematic Service

"He lived to bear his country's arms.  He died to save its honor.  He was a solider . . . and he knew a soldier's duty. His sacrifices will help to keep aglow the flaming torch that lights our lives . . . that millions yet unborn may know the priceless joy of liberty. And we who pay him homage, and revere his memory, in solemn pride rededicate ourselves to complete fulfillment of the task for which he so gallantly has placed his life upon the altar of a man's freedom." This poig… Continue Reading

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