April 18, 2016

Service Academy Nominations

Idaho has many promising young leaders, and nominating deserving young Idahoans to United States military academies is one of our great honors.  We are holding annual Service Academy Days this month to provide information to young women and men interested in receiving an excellent education while developing leadership abilities and serving our country through attending service academies.  In addition to the Academy Day we hosted in Boise earlier this month, we are hosting two Academy Days in no… Continue Reading

April 11, 2016

Being On Alert For Tax Season Scammers

With tax filing deadlines hitting, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is advising Americans to stay on alert for threatening calls from impersonators falsely claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. TIGTA indicates it received reports of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scammers making more than one million contacts over the past few years, and more than 5,500 victims have collectively paid approximately $29 millionas a result of the scam. The scam is des… Continue Reading

April 04, 2016

From The Mailbag: Monument Designations

As active 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.  Idahoans have contacted me regarding potential monument designations and land acquisitions in western states.  The following is my response: The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes U.S. Presidents to unilaterally design… Continue Reading

March 28, 2016

Year Of Pulse Crops

This year has been declared the International Year of Pulses to help raise awareness of the importance of these crops in meeting world nutrition needs, encourage research and development and better ensure the availability of pulse crops to consumers around the world.  Pulse crops include dry peas, dry beans, lentils and chickpeas.  Idaho pulse crop producers are working hard to meet this important nutritional need.    The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that despite pulse crop… Continue Reading

March 21, 2016

Objecting To Cuts To Medicare Advantage

As we continue to consider comprehensive reforms to our health care system, we should look to the highly successful Medicare Advantage (MA) program as a model of coordinated care that aligns payments with patient outcomes, rather than the number of procedures.  Any proposed changes to the MA program should encourage innovation, increase competition and expand beneficiary access to these private Medicare plans.  I recently led a bipartisan and growing group of 61 senators (8 more than signed a si… Continue Reading

March 14, 2016

Nuclear Energy Innovation Legislation

Nuclear energy and nuclear research have been underutilized as a reliable, safe, clean and efficient part of our national energy portfolio.  Bipartisan legislation we introduced and we are working to advance in Congress would help drive needed innovation in this important sector by helping remove barriers to advancements within the private sector and strengthening collaboration with national labs to maintain American preeminence in nuclear energy.  The nuclear industry in the U.S. faces many ch… Continue Reading

March 07, 2016

Fire Borrowing Must Be Fixed Now

Disaster-scale wildfires are going to continue to be a threat.  We can better prepare for the increasing costs of wildland fire suppression by providing land managers and fire fighters the certainty needed to plan and allocate resources properly without robbing from other priorities during each fire season.  I recently had the opportunity to join fellow Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) in speaking on the Senate Floor and offering a bipartisan amendment to draw attention to the need to permanentl… Continue Reading

February 29, 2016

Advancing Regulatory Relief For Idahoans

Legislation that would eliminate a costly and redundant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation affecting pesticide users progressed in Congress when the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), on which I serve, approved it as an amendment to S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act.  This is an important step in clarifying congressional intent concerning federal regulation of pesticides and codifying longstanding interpretation of regulatory statutes after a 2009 cou… Continue Reading

February 22, 2016

National Debt: We Must Get Real

As our national debt now exceeds $19 trillion and as Congress prepares to establish budget frameworks for the coming year, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued projections that require us to take notice of the ever-growing pit of debt our nation is amassing.  We must get real and make the changes necessary to stop the growth of the national debt that seriously weakens our country. CBO's projections speak to the magnitude of the problem. CBO estimates that the ann… Continue Reading

February 15, 2016

Presidents' Day

The Smithsonian's American History Museum is home to the inkwell President Abraham Lincoln used while writing the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The museum notes that Republicans in Congress were urging President Lincoln to take a stand for freedom, and Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation ordering that on January 1, 1863, all slaves in states still in rebellion would be "then, thenceforward, and forever free."  The original of the Emancipation Proclamation now rests i… Continue Reading

February 08, 2016

Encouraging Idaho Youth Leadership

Young leaders hold great promise for the future of our country.  They are tomorrow's innovators and problem solvers, and encouraging them to become engaged citizens can bring lasting solutions to our nation's most complicated issues.  The U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is once again providing an opportunity for Idaho students to develop their leadership skills. The U.S. Senate established the USSYP 54 years ago.  The program's creators recognized the future leadership potential of students e… Continue Reading

February 01, 2016


The start of this year is the beginning of the second half of the 114 th Congress.  This is a good time to reestablish legislative and federal policy priorities for the year ahead.  Improving our nation's economic wellbeing remains my first priority, as addressing our fiscal crisis is paramount.  I will continue to use every opportunity to make progress on this and other efforts of importance to Idahoans.  As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I will work with my colleagues to build on l… Continue Reading

January 25, 2016

Working To Nullify EPA Water Grab

The states, not the federal government, have always had primary jurisdiction over the allocation, management and use of water.  This management must remain with the states not seized by federal bureaucrats thousands of miles away and disconnected from the issues on the ground.  The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation, previously passed by the U.S. Senate with my support, that would block the Administration's harmful attempt to exert jurisdiction over virtually all of our wa… Continue Reading

January 18, 2016

IRS Pulls New Overreach That Threatened Charitable Giving

For many Americans, January is a time to plan for the year.  This includes reviewing annual charitable giving and preparing for the often-dreaded task of filing tax forms.  In yet another overreach, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could have made all of this even more problematic.  That is why I have joined with my Senate Finance Committee colleague Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who has introduced S. 2370, legislation that would stop a new, IRS-proposed regulation that would have subjected American… Continue Reading

January 11, 2016

Improving The Administration Of Veterans' Benefits

This is the third in a series of columns to discuss the findings from my 2015 Veterans Survey.  In this column, I will discuss the findings regarding the Veterans Benefits Administration. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is one of the three unique branches of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The VBA administers a wide range of veterans' benefits, including compensation, vocational assistance and pensions.  Filing a claim is the initial step to seeking compensation for di… Continue Reading

January 04, 2016

The Magic Of Christmas

I was honored to be asked to give the Republican Christmas Address.  Text from the address follows:  This season is a time to gather with loved ones and celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.  Christmas is about our father's love.  God loved us so very much that He sent His Son to earth so that we may better understand that love.  As we love and care for our families, strive to protect them, and always no matter how grown our children get, long for what is best for them, we can start… Continue Reading

December 28, 2015

Timely Response Key To Improving Veterans Services

This is the second in a series of columns to discuss the specifics of the findings from my 2015 Veterans Survey.  In this column, I will discuss the findings regarding the Veterans Health Administration. Knowing who to turn to at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is an important part of accessing needed services.  The VA is composed of three unique administrations-the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the National Cemetery Administra… Continue Reading

December 21, 2015

Obamacare Is Not The Solution

I had the opportunity to call attention to the negative effects of Obamacare on Idahoans and the need to enact a true solution through a recent speech delivered from the Senate floor.  The health care situation is much worse than predicted by those of us who tried to prevent Obamacare from becoming law six years ago.  The President mangled the 2013 rollout of the Obamacare exchanges and has repeatedly delayed and selectively interpreted key parts of the law because of predictable problems and… Continue Reading

December 14, 2015

Persistence Required On Veterans Services

I recently wrote about the release of the results of my 2015 Veterans Survey.  This column is the first in a series of columns in which I willdiscuss the details of the survey results.  The survey showed that veterans' satisfaction with the services they receive remains relatively stable in comparison to last year's survey, and improvements are needed, especially in responsiveness and timeliness. Travel-related challenges and wait times for appointments are two critical issues affecting veter… Continue Reading

December 07, 2015

Federal Government Still Operating In The Red Despite Record Revenue

The U.S. Treasury Department reported that the federal government took in a record $3.249 trillion in receipts for fiscal year 2015.  Despite taking more in taxes, the federal government still spent $439 billion more than it received-adding again to the still growing nearly $19 trillion national debt.  Comprehensive fiscal reform that reduces spending, reforms our tax code, stabilizes entitlement programs and strengthens spending controls must be enacted to control this alarming debt and grow … Continue Reading

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