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

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

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

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Is Collecting Massive Amounts Of Your Personal Financial Information

Not a day goes by without news reports on how large corporate entities and the government are collecting ever-increasing amounts of personal information about us.  While consumers voluntarily give away personal information to various websites in exchange for their services, more worrisome is the collection of personal information without our knowledge or consent.  When our government is doing the collecting, those concerns intensify.  We ought to pause and ask what the appropriate place for the … Continue Reading

October 20, 2014

Keeping The EPA Out Of Americans' Pockets

As if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) overreach is not bad enough, the agency is trying to more directly reach into the pockets of Americans.  Enough is enough.  These oppressive tactics must be stopped.  In recent months, the EPA has attempted to quietly claim it has the authority to unilaterally garnish wages of individuals who have been accused of violating its rules.  This summer, the agency issued a direct final rule, allowing the EPA to garnish-without first obtaining a c… Continue Reading

October 13, 2014

Listening To Idahoans

More than 7,000 Idahoans participated in my third tele-townhall meeting this year.  Regular tele-townhalls are one of the ways I connect with Idahoans across the state while working on your behalf in Washington, D.C.  The input I receive from these conversations helps me advocate for Idaho interests in Congress.  The main focus of the tele-townhall meeting held on September 17 was topics under congressional consideration.  We discussed my disagreement with Congress adjourning until after the No… Continue Reading

October 06, 2014

Housing Finance Reform: Protecting American Taxpayers

Advancing housing finance reform provides an opportunity to institute sound reforms that will better protect the American taxpayer. As we all remember, the 2008 financial crisis began with the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble.  A central reason for this bubble and the subsequent burst was the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  During the height of the housing bubble, Fannie and Freddie began operating as undercapitalized insurance companies, holding just 45 cents in capital for every $100 … Continue Reading

September 29, 2014

Amazing Idahoans

When the U.S. Senate is out of session for the August state work period, I have the opportunity to travel the state and meet with more Idahoans.  While I meet with Idahoans in Washington, DC, and throughout the state during other times of the year, the nearly full month of traveling the state, hearing directly from Idahoans about pressing concerns is refreshing and valuable as I work to represent your interests in the U.S. Senate.  One of the most rewarding aspects of this job is the amazing Ida… Continue Reading

September 22, 2014

Domestic Violence Is Brutal And Inexcusable

Brutal.  Disgusting.  Shocking.  Appalling.  Horrendous.  Every passing week brings more news reports about the latest incidents of abuse against spouses, children and in dating relationships.  We know instinctively that something is very wrong when incidents of domestic violence come to light.  Domestic violence is always brutal, life-altering and often deadly.  According the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violenc… Continue Reading

September 15, 2014

Off To School Financial Planning

As students start college, being aware of financial options and the long-term implications of student loans and debt is a critical part of laying the groundwork for a sound future.  Planning out how best to pay for school, learning about the financing choices available and thinking through the earning potential of a selected field of study can help reduce financial pressure after graduation. Beginning the path to higher education is filled with great excitement and opportunity for students.  Ho… Continue Reading

September 08, 2014

Together We Can Guide Meaningful Veterans Policy Reform

Throughout the past month, I have invited Idahoans to provide input about their experiences with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through participating in a short survey.  The input gathered through the survey is meant to help guide my advocacy for meaningful policy changes that will best ensure quality VA services for Idaho veterans.  Through the survey, I am receiving valuable insight into the experiences of Idaho veterans.  There is still time to participate in the survey through … Continue Reading

September 03, 2014

Restoring Veterans' Insurance Benefits

I am committed to the needs of our servicemembers and their families.  While personnel are deployed, their loved ones are tending to families and households, often meeting obligations without the daily help of the deployed.  The dedication and efforts of military spouses and family members directly contribute to the strength of our armed forces and country.  Military families are an integral part of the defense community and their needs continue should a servicemember pass away. The families of… Continue Reading

August 25, 2014

Wolf Predation And Livestock Loss Compensation

Threats to livestock operations have been compounded in recent years by the increased presence of federally reintroduced wolves and wildfires raging across limited grazing land.  While certainly not a cure all, Congress included programs in the enacted Farm Bill to help producers recover from these and other losses.  The federal government is responsible for the reintroduction of wolves in Idaho, and thus responsible for the impacts of this reintroduction.  In the 2013 Idaho Wolf Monitoring Pro… Continue Reading

August 18, 2014

Preventing Ill-Gotten Rewards

It is bad enough to learn of the doctored waitlists at some U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities.  It is incomprehensible that the staff involved in the waitlist doctoring received merit-based bonuses funded by the taxpayer.  Those involved in the waitlist scandal ought to reimburse the taxpayer for their bonuses.  Additionally, the VA must change its system for awarding and recognizing what should be exemplary work.   The VA has long been under pressure to better serve v… Continue Reading

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