Editorials

March 23, 2015

No More Shortchanging Seniors

I recently led a bipartisan group of 52 senators in calling on the Administration to refrain from making additional harmful cuts to the successful, market-based Medicare Advantage (MA) program.  These targeted cuts, coupled with the drastic reductions to the program under Obamacare, mean increased out-of-pocket costs, fewer coverage options, reduced benefits and, in many cases, cancelled plans for seniors.  This shortchanging of America's seniors must stop. Medicare Advantage, which remains one… Continue Reading


March 16, 2015

Opportunity To Get It Right For Veterans

While living in a state as vast as Idaho has immeasurable benefits, veterans living in rural Idaho communities must travel great distances to access needed medical services.  Last summer, Congress passed legislation establishing the Veterans Choice Program following reports of veterans having difficulty accessing care.  Through the program, veterans who experience a significant appointment scheduling delay or who have to travel more than 40 miles to receive U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V… Continue Reading


March 09, 2015

Stopping IRS Mistreatment of Small Businesses

At a recent House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight hearing, a Maryland dairy farmer testified about Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents seizing $62,000 from his family's bank account and filing criminal charges after his family made cash deposits from dairy sales.  Like many Idaho producers, his family gets up early every day to operate and manage the farm.  The farmer, who has faced losing the family farm several times throughout its operation, testified that the IRS returned litt… Continue Reading


March 02, 2015

Working To Eliminate The Veterinarian Shortage

Food animal veterinarians are part of the first line of defense in ensuring food safety and public health, improving animal health and welfare and safeguarding our homeland from foreign animal disease.  Unfortunately, many agricultural communities across our nation that need veterinarians the most have experienced a shortage in essential veterinarian services in recent years.  That is why I recently introduced the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act that would address the … Continue Reading


February 23, 2015

Checking Executive Powers

Congress' Constitutional oversight and authority is an integral part of the American system of checks and balances.  More than ever, Congress has a responsibility to this country to ensure that our co-equal branches of government function in a manner consistent with the Constitution.  For the past six years, the Obama Administration has acted with willful disregard for the American people and repeatedly exceeded the bounds of the law in pursuit of its own far-reaching political agenda.  From fl… Continue Reading


February 16, 2015

Increasing ESA Transparency

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), 22species have been listed in Idaho under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  There are 1,590ESA listings nationwide.  The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reported that only 28species have been delisted due to recovery in the more than 40 years since the ESA's enactment.  Considering the long-term, far-reaching and rigid conservation requirements that accompany listings, we must especially ensure that any ESA determinatio… Continue Reading


February 09, 2015

Still Needed: Responsible Budgeting

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) annual Budget and Economic Outlook report shows that, absent action, the United States continues to remain on an unsustainable fiscal path with the national debt expected to grow by $9 trillion over the course of the next ten years.  According to CBO, the cost of the interest payments alone on the debt are expected to rise by 5.6 trillion, which would account for roughly 13.5 percent of total annual federal spending.  Our nation's fiscal picture is cl… Continue Reading


February 02, 2015

Reining In Federal Regulation

Duplicative, often burdensome federal regulations imposed on the private sector continue to stifle economic growth and discourage innovation.  An efficient and accountable regulatory structure is of paramount importance and fundamental to ensuring taxpayer dollars are being used properly.  Regulators must make our communities and small businesses-those most impacted-a central part of the decision-making process.  The non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported that 409 "major" … Continue Reading


January 26, 2015

Keystone XL Pipeline Considerations

To say the Keystone XL pipeline project has been analyzed extensively is an understatement.  Over the more than 7 years since TransCanada originally applied for a Presidential Permit, the U.S. State Department has conducted extensive studies of this project in coordination with at least 12 federal agencies, along with various state and local agencies and Indian tribes and considered nearly 1.9 million comments.  The following are some considerations as Congress debates the project's merits.  … Continue Reading


January 19, 2015

Senate Environment Committee Priorities: Opportunities For Progress

As the 114 th Congress begins, I welcome the opportunity to serve again on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, because this committee focuses on environmental issues affecting our nation's natural resources, which are fundamental to Idaho.  The committee will be following new common-sense principles and focusing on issues of importance to Idahoans. In addition to oversight of agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EPW Committee has jurisdictio… Continue Reading


January 12, 2015

Pressing Ahead

Considerable work is required in the 114 th Congress to build the foundation for a competitive, national economy that encourages innovation and job growth.  Improving our nation's economic wellbeing-which includes reforming our badly broken tax code, reforming entitlement programs to ensure their solvencyand establishing powerful budget controls-remains my number one priority.  In the 114 th Congress, I will use my committee assignments on the Senate Budget Committee; Senate Finance Committee;… Continue Reading


January 05, 2015

From The Mailbag: Keystone XL Pipeline

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.  The top issues constituents have contacted me about recently include interest in the Keystone XL pipeline project.  The following is my response: Canadian oil company TransCanada has been working with the U.S. Departme… Continue Reading


December 29, 2014

Cybersecurity: A Non-Stop Job

With the holiday shopping season well underway, consumers, retailers and banks are reminded of the great need to protect financial data and payment information.  Statistics show that data breaches do not necessarily increase during some of the busiest shopping days of the year, but each swipe of the card is a stark reminder of the significant amount of trust placed with retailers and financial institutions to keep our private financial information safe and secure. Consumers, businesses and our … Continue Reading


December 22, 2014

Veterans Survey Findings

Over the past few months, I have written about efforts to seek input from Idaho veterans about their experiences with veterans' services.  On Veterans Day, I released the results of my Fall 2014 Veterans Survey.  The survey results are guiding my efforts on behalf of Idaho's veterans and are being shared with officials in Washington, D.C., and with the VA to help push meaningful policy changes. More than 1,000 Idahoans from the veterans community participated in the survey.  More than 80 percen… Continue Reading


December 15, 2014

Clear Need For Comprehensive Tax Reform

One of my top priorities in the new Congress remains reforming our nation's overly-burdensome tax code as part of creating a competitive, national economy that encourages innovation and job growth.  As I travel our state, many Idahoans ask me can Congress find consensus to reform our tax code and to pay down our massive national debt.  The answer is we are making some progress on key principles, but we need Idahoans and all Americans to push for agreement to get the job done. Congress cannot co… Continue Reading


December 08, 2014

Power Plant Rule Is All Pain And No Gain

Concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed mandate to severely limit power plants emissions were heard loud and clear when I met directly with Idahoans recently in a series of town hall meetings.  The proposed rule threatens to impose significant, unnecessary costs on Idaho consumers while doing little to improve the environment.  Implementing a diversified energy plan that reduces environmental risks while improving domestic energy production is a far better course … Continue Reading


December 01, 2014

Supporting Our Communities: Small Business Saturday

Small businesses undoubtedly are a driving force in our communities and economy.  They generate the jobs and revenue that support families, cities and our nation.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy reportedthat Idaho alone has 147,973 small businesses that employee 272,033 workers, more than half of the state's private workforce.  Recognizing their important role and supporting these job creators means shopping locally and creating a competitive, national economy … Continue Reading


November 24, 2014

Giving Thanks

The many people in our communities who recognize needs and find ways to meet them are what makes Idaho such a great place to live and are among the many blessings to be celebrated this Thanksgiving. Idaho is filled with extraordinary individuals who come together not only when tragedy strikes, but also to support others around them every day.  We see this in the way our communities galvanize time and time again in support of local and nationwide efforts.  From caring for families struck with il… Continue Reading


November 17, 2014

Assisting Idaho Veterans

Thank you to the more than 1,000 of Idaho's veterans who have taken the time to share their experiences with veterans' services through a survey I recently conducted.  As I look carefully at this valuable input and share the results, I am struck by the volume of survey respondents who are seeking assistance with specific U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-related cases.  This increase in VA-related casework speaks to the need to continue to work to ensure that veterans programs are best me… Continue Reading


November 10, 2014

The Spirit of Freedom

For the past twelve years, I have had the honor of recognizing Idaho veterans and volunteers who assist Idaho veterans with the Spirit of Freedom:  Idaho Veterans Service Award.  One of the great personal benefits of giving these awards is that I get to learn the inspiring stories of many great Idahoans.  I am not surprised that we have many dedicated and giving individuals living in Idaho, but I am continuously encouraged by their kind actions on behalf of others.  This year, 21 Idahoans are re… Continue Reading

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