July 07, 2014

Record Taxes But Deficit Still Out Of Whack

Some may view the recent reports of increased tax revenue being paid into the U.S. Treasury as a sign that our economy is picking back up.  However, federal spending remains so excessive that our nation has a dangerously high deficit despite the influx in revenue from increased taxes.  This further confirms that the federal government cannot spend its way out of the problem.  We must enact comprehensive fiscal reform that grows our economy by reducing spending, reforming our tax code, stabilizin… Continue Reading

June 30, 2014

Farm Bill: Advancing Forest Health

Making up approximately 39 percent of Idaho's land, forests have an important role in our quality of life and economy in Idaho.  Environmentally, our forests are central to air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and they are resources for recreation.  Economically, they support communities through wood and paper products jobs and recreation dollars.  We must ensure that federal forest policy keeps up with this sector, and the enacted Farm Bill makes progress.  It often goes unrecognized that … Continue Reading

June 23, 2014

Addressing Highway Infrastructure Needs

We rely on our highways to get goods to markets both at home and abroad.  We rely on them to get to work and school.  We rely on them for recreation and tourism.  We rely on them to help grow our economy.  In a nation and state as expansive as ours, we cannot afford to be lax in the upkeep of our transportation infrastructure.  That is why it is important that Congress periodically review federal transportation infrastructure policy and make any necessary changes to ensure it is meeting America'… Continue Reading

June 16, 2014

INL Helping Extend Nuclear Reactor Lifespan

One of the great opportunities as a Senator from Idaho is being able to represent innovative industries and institutions that are leading the charge in tackling some of our nation's most significant challenges.  Expanding our nation's ability to generate the energy we need here at home, thus decreasing our reliance on foreign sources, remains a necessity.  Nuclear power, which provides nearly 20 percent of our total domestic electricity generation, has a critical role in meeting U.S. energy need… Continue Reading

June 09, 2014

The Call Of The Trail

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "The influence of fine scenery, the presence of mountains, appeases our irritations and elevates our friendships."  Fortunately, in Idaho, we have many opportunities to benefit from fine scenery and reflect on historical, nation-shaping events that took place along Idaho's trails.  For example, Idaho's section of the Lewis and Clark National Trail stretches across north-central Idaho from Lolo Pass to Lewiston.  A number of historic sites and trails can be accessed al… Continue Reading

June 02, 2014

Mothers Deserve Freedom To Choose Whether to Buy Potatoes

Those who argue that the Administration is right in excluding white potatoes as a nutritional option in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program are essentially saying that mothers utilizing WIC should not be able to choose whether to purchase white potatoes, despite their nutritional benefits.  It is like they claim to know better than we do what is good for us, regardless of nutritional facts to the contrary.  Nobody is forcing mothers to buy po… Continue Reading

May 26, 2014

Honoring The Families Of Fallen Heroes

This month, I have the honor of presenting the Spirit of Idaho award to the mother of an Idahoan who lost his life serving in Iraq.  She continues his commitment to serving others through a program she created to help meet the needs of active military, veterans and Gold Star families.  Her son's legacy of giving lives on in her work to help service members and their families in his loving memory.    Families of service members who lost their lives serving our nation are an important part of our… Continue Reading

May 14, 2014

Working To End IRS Targeting

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States and arguably the "Father of the Constitution," understood that freedom of speech was instrumental in holding government accountable.  Unfortunately, we have seen multiple attempts by this Administration to stretch its regulatory authority and try to stifle this freedom.  The effort to use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to silence political dissent is intolerable and undermines our nation's founding principles.  That is why I once again… Continue Reading

May 07, 2014

New Federal Rule Threatens Control Over Water, Property

Idahoans know the value of environmental stewardship.  Access to abundant, clean water is a central pillar of our state's agricultural and natural resource heritage, providing numerous outdoor recreational opportunities and a uniquely Idaho way of life.  For these reasons, you will not find people more connected or more committed to water quality and quantity than Idahoans.    Unfortunately, recent moves by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) threaten the very control of our water t… Continue Reading

April 30, 2014

A Pioneer Lost But Opportunity Gained

Many people in Washington, DC, often comment to me about the physical beauty of Idaho-the majestic mountains, pristine whitewater streams and ample opportunities to hunt, fish and recreate.  When they do, I am quick to add that Idaho's people are every bit as unique as our scenery. I was reminded of those conversations when I learned recently about the loss of an Idaho hero.  He was a man who set a model to build the consensus and collaboration needed to solve so many of the land management iss… Continue Reading

April 23, 2014

Reading: Filling Up the Information Bank

We live in an accelerating world.  Advancing technology places an increasing premium on reading and writing well.  Quickly understanding complex and evolving terminology is required to run a household, be effective in the workplace, comprehend financial, health care and other information, get the most out of our education and use new information tools.  To ensure America's youth are able to succeed, we cannot let up in stressing the importance of continuous learning.                            … Continue Reading

April 09, 2014

Supporting New Farmers and Ranchers

Preliminary results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 2012 Census of Agriculture confirm that the average age of the American farmer is continuing to increase.  With more pressure on our land and an expanding need for food worldwide, we must persist in looking for ways to address the challenges faced by those just starting out in farming and ranching.    USDA found that a mere 6 percent of principal farm operators are under 35 years old, and the average age of principal farm o… Continue Reading

April 07, 2014

Fannie-Freddie Wind Down Will Protect Taxpayers

Beginning last year, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) and I held a series of in-depth hearings on how to reform our broken housing market.  The hearings examined the massive taxpayer intervention for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that occurred in 2008, and the negative consequences that have arisen as a result of the federal government controlling almost the entire mortgage finance market since then.  Building on those hearings and bipartisan legislation introduced by … Continue Reading

March 26, 2014

Healthy Foods Are the Pulse of Idaho

Getting out of Washington, D.C. and back to Idaho is rewarding enough; it is all the more so when I am fortunate enough to meet with Idaho students.  I recently had the opportunity to meet with students at Jenifer Junior High School in Lewiston, and join them for some healthy foods made from Idaho-grown pulse crops-peas, lentils, chickpeas and dry beans. Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and I worked to include special provisions for pulse crops in the new farm bill legislation approved earlier… Continue Reading

March 17, 2014

Celebrating Agriculture

According to data from the American Farm Bureau Federation, in 1940, the average U.S. farmer fed 19 people.  The number of people fed by our nation's farmers has steadily risen over the years, and now the average American farmer feeds nearly 155 people worldwide.  While we should recognize the hard work that goes into food production every day, a National Ag Day was created to celebrate the remarkable work of American farmers who feed our country and the world.  National Ag Day was establis… Continue Reading

March 10, 2014

Developing Leadership Among Idaho Youth

In 1962, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution to establish the U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).  The program creators recognized the important role of talented youth who understand our nation's governmental functions in strengthening our country.   USSYP is a nationwide competitive high school program that provides students from each state with a short indoctrination into the operation of the U.S. Senate and the federal government.  This program is one of many opportunities that enhance interes… Continue Reading

March 03, 2014

Idaho Olympians

Americans and people around the world have gathered by their televisions to cheer on athletes in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.  Thanks to talented Idahoans competing this year we have had the opportunity to applaud local Olympians.  Idahoans earned two gold medals and one silver medal.  They contributed three of the U.S. team's 28 total medals. Idaho has been well-represented on the U.S. Olympic team:    Nick Cunningham, a graduate of Boise State University where he captained the tr… Continue Reading

February 24, 2014

Efficient Administration Of Justice

Ranking fifth in the nation, the Idaho Federal District Court was named one of America's most productive courts.  The court has consistently ranked as one of the most productive and efficient district courts in the country despite having only two judges and a very high caseload.  Bench presence and cases tried by an active district judge were among the factors considered in determining the court's overall productivity ranking.  The District of Idaho ranks eighth in the nation for the number of … Continue Reading

February 17, 2014

President Washington's Timeless Insight

With the help of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, President George Washington presented his Farwell Address to the nation.  According to the United States Senate Historical Office, the Farwell Address was written at a time when President Washington was worn out by burdens of the presidency and attacks of political foes.  His principal concern was for the survival of the eight-year-old Constitution, and he believed that the stability of the new republic was threatened by the forces of geog… Continue Reading

February 10, 2014

Farm Bill: Supporting Idaho Agriculture And Forest Industries

I joined a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate and voted to approve the House-passed Agricultural Act of 2014 conference report, known as the Farm Bill.  All four members of the Idaho Congressional Delegation voted to support the final agreement.  This legislation is imperfect, as it could have better addressed spending concerns and costly permitting, labeling and inspection requirements.  However, overall, the legislation will reduce the deficit and help Idaho's agriculture and forest indust… Continue Reading

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