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

October 19, 2015

Seeking Meaningful Changes For Veterans

We must see meaningful and lasting change within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve veterans' access to high-quality services.  In a recent letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, I detailed some of the concerns I am hearing from Idaho veterans with their experiences with the VA.  I urged the VA to pay special attention to Idahoans as the VA works to improve the beleaguered Veterans Choice Program (VCP) and invited him to Idaho to hear firsthand from Idaho's veterans.    … Continue Reading

October 12, 2015

The Enduring "Star-Spangled Banner"

"O say can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? … Continue Reading

October 05, 2015

Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty

In the absence of a platoon leader, James E. Johnson, a U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant from Pocatello, stepped forward to lead his fellow Marines in the Korean War where his platoon faced a barrage of fire from an enemy force that greatly outnumbered his platoon.  Despite the onslaught, Sgt. Johnson calmly moved among his men encouraging, inspiring and directing.  He then saved many lives when he placed himself in position of certain death or capture to provide cover for his comrades.  Sgt. Johnson'… Continue Reading

September 28, 2015

Dangerous Iran Deal

Idahoans have overwhelmingly echoed many concerns with the President's executive agreement with Iran-from the concessions to unseen "side deals" to a questionable verification process.  Furthermore, they are shocked at the negotiators' failure to secure the release of Americans long detained in Iran, including Idaho's Pastor Saeed Abedini.  In a recent Senate speech, I had the opportunity to detail this strong opposition and share concerns about the threats to our national security and regional … Continue Reading

September 21, 2015

Idaho's Food Processing Growing Jobs And Economy

Early innovations enabling long-term storage of potatoes and onions gave way to later processing methods that have enabled Idaho agricultural producers to feed people far beyond Idaho's borders.  Idahoans led the way in growing and processing the food necessary to nourish American troops fighting in World War II, and have fed Americans and consumers around the world for decades.  Building on this productive history as a leading food processing state, Idaho is a hub for the expansion or relocatio… Continue Reading

September 14, 2015

EPA Water Grab Must Be Permanently Blocked

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson recently issued a temporary injunction blocking the controversial U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "Waters of the United States" rule, which otherwise would have gone into effect in all 50 states.  The states, not the federal government, have always had primary jurisdiction over the allocation, management and use of water.  This short-term victory underscores the need for Congress to act quickly to permanently block the Administration's harmfu… Continue Reading

August 31, 2015

Veterans Survey Remains Open

In the wake of last year's scandals involving the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), I created a veterans survey to learn more about the experiences and needs of Idaho's veterans community.  The 2014 Veterans Survey was an invaluable tool.  I read the comments that came in and heard loud-and-clear the voices of Idaho veterans.  Their voices have shaped my actions on veterans policy and legislation.  For example, several veterans told me of their experiences with Agent Orange.  Because of … Continue Reading

August 24, 2015

Social Security Administration's Gun Grab Must Stop

The Administration is stepping up efforts to restrict Second Amendment rights.  There have been a number of initiatives to restrict expression of Second Amendment rights.  This includes U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs efforts to label our nation's returning service members as "mentally defective" solely on the basis that they have an appointed fiduciary to help them with their benefits.  It is clear this Administration is determined to deprive American citizens of their constitutional rights… Continue Reading

August 17, 2015

Providing Regulatory Relief To Farmers, Water Users

Rural communities are under a substantial amount of financial strain and regulatory pressure and are looking for much-needed relief.  Bipartisan legislation I introduced seeks to help answer that call by dialing back duplicative and costly regulations associated with the federal pesticide permitting process.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on which I serve, recently passed this legislation by voice vote, and work continues to see this legislation that willlift an additional l… Continue Reading

August 10, 2015

From The Mailbag: Chemical Safety Legislation

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 Chemical Safety and the Toxic Substances Control Act.  The following is my response: Senator Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) introduced S. 697, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for … Continue Reading

August 03, 2015

Medicare 50th Anniversary A Call To Action For Reforms

July 30 th was the 50 th Anniversary of the creation of Medicare, which has been of considerable importance to many Americans.  Medicare's anniversary should serve as a call to action for achieving the reforms needed to prevent Medicare from becoming insolvent.   To protect current and future Medicare enrollees, comprehensive reforms of the Medicare program must be enacted.  The Medicare Trustees report the program faces an unfunded liability of nearly $25 trillion, and the program is current… Continue Reading

July 27, 2015

INL Powering Reach Of New Horizons

As we look with amazement at the close-up pictures of Pluto, the complex technology it takes to make those images possible is difficult to wrap one's head around.  But, beyond the fascinating and scientific advancement, this is also a proud achievement for Idaho considering the critical role scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have had in this development. Technology developed at INL has made it possible to reach beyond the outer edges of our solar system.  The images of Pluto thr… Continue Reading

July 20, 2015

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness

An astounding number of people-nearly 7.7 million-are affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the U.S.  While progress is being made in recognizing and treating PTSD, unfortunately, far too many cases go undiagnosed.  Greater awareness of PTSD can help ensure that more who suffer from PTSD get the help they need.  I joined 22 fellow senators in introducing a bipartisan resolution that designated June as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month and June 27, 2015, as N… Continue Reading

July 13, 2015

Nuclear Energy Innovation

Our country needs an energy plan that focuses on reducing environmental risks and reliance on foreign resources from volatile countries around the globe.  Nuclear energy is a key component of the long-term, diversified energy plan our country needs.  To ensure nuclear energy remains a cornerstone of our power generation system, we must keep our current nuclear plants operating while we deploy new reactors and new technologies.  Other countries continue to develop nuclear reactor prototypes and c… Continue Reading

July 06, 2015

Continuing To Work To Improve Veterans Services

Throughout my travels across Idaho, I have heard loud and clear the frustration many veterans feel while trying to access the services they deserve.  I share their frustration.    Although Congress has worked to invigorate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with increased funding, it is clear that funding increases alone are not enough.  More must be done to improve the delivery of benefits to veterans.  Short-term fixes and top-down policy changes are not enough to bring about the ty… Continue Reading

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