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

November 30, 2015

Celebrating Hometown Heroes

We all know people who make good things happen in our communities.  They prepare meals for families overcoming illnesses.  They welcome home returning veterans.  They find the resources to open libraries.  They pay attention, ask questions and dedicate time to making others' lives easier.  The Idaho Hometown Hero Medal honors the actions of some of the many Idahoans who make a difference and inspire others. Through Congressional Record Statements, I have had the opportunity to help congratulate… Continue Reading

November 23, 2015

Small Businesses Deserve Our Support

It takes know-how, determination and calculated risk to turn ideas into successful small businesses, especially to keep businesses going and grow them over generations.  Thankfully, there is no shortage of these characteristics in Idaho.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy reports that Idaho alone has 149,476 small businesses that employ more than half of the state's private workforce.  Shopping at local small businesses and creating a competitive national economy … Continue Reading

November 16, 2015

Veterans Survey Calls For Continued Commitment To Vets Services

The outpouring of responses to my 2015 Veterans Survey is helpful and encouraging as I continue to work with Idaho's veteran community to improve veterans services.  Nearly 1,000 Idahoans participated in the survey.  The survey results demonstrate an unwavering commitment among Idaho veterans to ensuring current and future veterans have access to high-quality care.  The vast majority of survey participants identified themselves as servicemembers, and their insights provide a path forward for con… Continue Reading

November 09, 2015

Honoring Idaho's Spirit Of Freedom

Veterans and their families infuse our communities with a deep understanding of the truest sense of service.  Many of these veterans continue to serve their fellow veterans and others long after their military careers end.  Their shared insight of the personal price of American freedoms provides a special connection to the veterans they assist.  For the past thirteen years, I have had the honor of recognizing some of this immense service with the Spirit of Freedom:  Idaho Veterans Service Award.… Continue Reading

November 02, 2015

Commending The 366th Fighter Wing

The Mountain Home Air Force Base's 366 th Fighter Wing's long list of awards grew even longer recently when it once again earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.  Congratulations to the skilled and dedicated men and women who serve in the 366 th Fighter Wing (FW) for their outstanding service to our nation.      The Outstanding Unit Awardwas created 61 years ago.  According to the Air Force Personnel Center, it is awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force to units that "distinguished t… Continue Reading

October 26, 2015

October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month-a time to reflect on the significant progress and important work ahead to change our culture so no one experiences domestic violence. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women recognized Idaho as part of the national tour celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Since its enactment in 1994 and subsequent reauthorizations with bipartisan leadership and support, the law has hel… Continue Reading

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