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

November 03, 2014

EPA Violates Statutory Authority--Attempts Water Grab

I have previously written about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to wrongly assert jurisdiction over nearly all waters of the United States.  The Administration's action, which is taken without statutory authority, undermines states' constitutional water sovereignty, threatens the nation's economy and encroaches on private landowners' ability to utilize their property.  This misguided proposed rule must be withdrawn. Now, federal small business advocates are among the cr… Continue Reading

October 27, 2014

Bold Regulatory Reforms Can Help Small Banks Survive

Crushed under an ever-increasing regulatory burden, community banks are disappearing from America's financial landscape. Legislators are aware of this issue: at a recent Senate Banking Committee hearing on the state of small financial institutions, senators expressed wide bipartisan support for creating a regulatory environment in which traditional lending can thrive in all communities. Federal banking regulators say they are already taking significant steps toward achieving this goal. While… Continue Reading

October 27, 2014

Recognizing Hometown Heroes

Each day, we often hear an enormous amount of heartbreaking news-from wars raging around the world, to disease, hunger and deaths.  Being aware of what is going on around us is important.  However, it often seems that good work gets overlooked in the shuffle.  A couple of Idahoans are working to change that by honoring the outstanding work and service of Idahoans through the Hometown Hero Medal.   Drs. Fahim and Naeem Rahim, of Pocatello, established the Idaho Hometown Hero Medal to recognize i… Continue Reading

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