June 01, 2020

Weekly Column: Supporting Rural Communities

As Congress works with the Administration to consider the next phases of federal support to address the impacts of the pandemic, I am advocating for getting resources to smaller communities to ease recovery. Enacting a long-term solution for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRS) and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs is a priority to provide much-needed certainty to rural communities. In April, I co-led a bipartisan letter with Senators James E. Risch (R-Id… Continue Reading

May 25, 2020

Weekly Column: 75 Years Later--American Fortitude The Foundation Of Recovery

On May 8, 1945, Americans, with our allies around the world, celebrated Nazi Germany's surrender ending World War II in Europe. Many American troops stationed in Europe were soon after sent home or to the Pacific Theater. Concentration Camps and communities across Europe were liberated, Japan formally surrendered on September 2, 1945, and people turned from the dreadfulness of war to working to heal and rebuild. In a broadcast to the American people announcing the surrender of Germany, Presi… Continue Reading

May 18, 2020

Weekly Column: Idaho Pulling Together

Even in these uncertain times, as the pandemic has torn across our world taking lives and livelihoods, Idahoans are moving forward. I have been proud to work closely with Governor Brad Little and fellow members of Idaho's Congressional Delegation, Senator Jim Risch and Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher, to support Idahoans throughout the state's response to the pandemic. From the beginning, the Idaho Congressional Delegation worked with the Governor's office to assist with testing… Continue Reading

May 11, 2020

Weekly Column: Addressing Rise In Domestic Violence

Reports indicate crisis centers and law enforcement agencies have seen a rise in domestic violence incidents as communities face increased strain from the impacts of the pandemic. To address this problem, I joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging Senate Leadership to include more support for domestic violence programs in any further emergency coronavirus response legislation. As we raised in our letter, Phase 3 of the emergency coronavirus response legislation, the bipartisan Coronavi… Continue Reading

May 04, 2020

Weekly Column: Greatness Of Educators Clear Amid COVID-19 Response

As schools closed nationwide to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, millions of school-aged children suddenly started being homeschooled. Many parents are reeling trying to juggle at home work schedules while trying to keep on top of schooling needs. For most, this abrupt shift has not been easy, and the tremendous importance of our educators is even more acutely clear. All the while, teachers and administrators have been working hard to overcome the difficult circumst… Continue Reading

April 27, 2020

Weekly Column: Coronavirus Aid For Agricultural Producers

Idaho farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers are among those continuing to work hard every day to put food on our tables--despite the personal health threat of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and enormous strain on the agricultural sector. The intent of this column is to help clarify some of the federal assistance available to help Idaho agricultural producers weather this storm. Agriculture is facing tremendous disruption due to the shuttering or scaling back of restaurants, schoo… Continue Reading

April 20, 2020

Weekly Column: Backing Rural Providers

Making sure health care providers, big and small, have the resources necessary to keep those on the frontlines safe and combat the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is the most important part of the fight against this disease. The University of Chicago recently released a "U.S. COVID-19 Atlas" indicating emerging hotspots in rural areas. Many already cash-strapped rural health care providers with oftentimes only a handful of emergency medical personnel and very limited bed space are responding t… Continue Reading

April 13, 2020

Weekly Column: Phase 3 Of The Coronavirus Response

Congress and the Trump Administration have enacted three phases of legislation providing resources to support the fight against the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Most recently, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed and President Trump signed into law Phase 3 of emergency coronavirus response legislation, the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Details are rolling out about how to access the support provided through the … Continue Reading

April 06, 2020

Weekly Column: The American Spirit--Confronting COVID-19 Head On

As the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has spread across our world, our communities have confronted this unprecedented challenge head on. In the face of adversity, we are seeing innovation and compassion from those working hard to contribute to the solution-the American spirit at its best. Our public health providers, including doctors, nurses, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, laboratory technicians, emergency medical technicians and others, are working diligently to mitigate the s… Continue Reading

March 30, 2020

Weekly Column: Confronting COVID-19

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic has challenged our sense of normalcy, and it has tested every institution of daily life we know. The crisis has had a major impact on the physical and economic health of our country, and a major response has been required. Thank you to all those within the health care system and others on the frontlines of battling the coronavirus for your dedication to treating patients and working to identify therapeutic medications (for short-term treatment) as well a… Continue Reading

March 23, 2020

Weekly Column: Moving America's Public Transportation Systems Forward

The Senate Banking Committee recently held a hearing on the reauthorization of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which expires at the end of September 2020. The FAST Act provides long-term funding certainty for public transportation agencies across the country, funding that goes toward capital purchases and operations of the systems, and ultimately promotes safety, mobility and economic opportunity. Public transportation plays a key role in our nation's economy. There ar… Continue Reading

March 16, 2020

Weekly Column: Shutting The Door On Telephone Scammers

We have heard about people in our communities, neighbors, friends, or even family, falling victim to robocall scams and losing significant amounts of money and security of their personal information. Scammers are coming up with ever-creative ways to manipulate our open society to defraud unsuspecting victims. These scams are out of control, and enough is enough. Thankfully, we are getting traction on enacting legislation aimed at helping to stop illegal robocalls. In December, the U.S. Sena… Continue Reading

March 09, 2020

Weekly Column: Veterans History Workshop In Idaho

Recording the life stories of Idaho veterans helps ensure their service is honored in a way that enables us to learn from their examples. Over the years, I have participated in interviewing Idaho veterans to preserve their stories for the Veterans History Project (VHP). I am proud to be a part of bringing representatives of the Library of Congress, which administers the Veterans History Project, and others to Jerome, Idaho, Saturday, March 14, 2020, to host a veterans oral history workshop. T… Continue Reading

March 02, 2020

Weekly Column: Time To Plan Spring And Summer Washington, D.C., Visits

Idahoans who visit our United States Capitol Building may have seen Idaho's contributions to the collection of statues donated by each state to honor people notable in each state's history. Rooms and halls of the Capitol are adorned with this collection of statues. Idaho has given statues of two notable Idahoans-George Laird Shoup and William Edgar Borah-that pay tribute to the service of these esteemed individuals and represent the many Idahoans who are part of our state and nation's deep his… Continue Reading

February 24, 2020

Weekly Column: Improving Access To Neighboring Markets

The original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needed to be re-negotiated. I voted against passage of NAFTA in 1993, because it was flawed. The agreement traded away sovereign rights of individual states and the federal government. Many goods and services originating in the United States received unfair treatment among trading partners. It also failed to provide sufficient market access and address problematic pricing structures and restrictive trade practices in the dairy sector. … Continue Reading

February 17, 2020

Weekly Column: Follow Up: Legislative Advancements This Congress

An important part of representing Idahoans in the U.S. Senate is keeping folks informed about legislation advancing in Congress. In December, I provided a year-end review of some legislative highlights from the first year of the 116th Congress. The following is a more detailed account of the advancement of legislation I have advocated for on behalf of Idahoans. I introduced or co-led the following bills that were enacted into law prior to the end of last year either as standalone legislati… Continue Reading

January 20, 2020

Weekly Column: Working To Lower Prescription Drug Costs

On December 19, 2019, Senate colleagues and I introduced S. 3129, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, to lower prescription drug prices and encourage the development of new therapies and cures. This bill contains provisions that already have broad, bipartisan support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Focusing on achievable areas of agreement can make progress in truly making prescription drugs more affordable. America is the leader in biopharmaceutical innovation, bringing l… Continue Reading

January 13, 2020

Weekly Column: Meeting The Federal Obligation To Idaho Counties

Nearly two-thirds of Idaho is federally owned, which severely limits the tax base for roads, law enforcement and schools because federal lands contribute no property taxes. The Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program provides critical funding streams for rural Idahoans. The two-year extension of SRS funding, included in the end-of-year funding package approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump, helps provide a more predictable source of funding for rural communities and school dist… Continue Reading

December 30, 2019

Weekly Column: Year End Review And New Year Opportunities

As we gather with family and friends this holiday season, there are likely plenty of discussions about the state of our nation. Hopefully, these conversations are more lighthearted than Washington, D.C.-style partisan bickering. These discussions around dinner tables and coffee tables can be fruitful, as we listen and share viewpoints with our loved ones. Here are some considerations as we end out the year and get ready to kick off 2020. The U.S. Department of Labor's November Employment Su… Continue Reading

December 23, 2019

Weekly Column: Momentum On Bipartisan Budget Reform

Federal overspending cedes strength, forgoes the ability to put full resources behind new ideas and essentially resigns our nation to a system of cobbling by, moving from one federal funding deadline to another without a focus on the bigger picture. The strength of our nation is far too important not only to Americans, but also to world stability to accept this outcome. I joined a bipartisan group of my fellow Senators in introducing S. 2765, the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act, tha… Continue Reading

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