August 17, 2020

Weekly Column: From The Mailbag--COVID-19 Effects On The Postal Service

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces. One of the issues Idahoans have contacted me about is the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The following is my response: I share your support for reliable and efficient mail service. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the U.S. and affect all aspects of American life. The outbreak has infected over 5 million… Continue Reading

August 10, 2020

Weekly Column: Making The National Suicide Hotline More Accessible

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports: "Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. One person dies by suicide every 11 minutes. In 2017, 10.6 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide. People who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence are at higher risk for suicide." Idahoans have shared stories with me about the tragic loss of friends … Continue Reading

August 03, 2020

Weekly Column: Providing For Our National Defense

One of the most critical jobs of Congress is providing for our national defense, and this is the 60th consecutive year that Congress has fulfilled its constitutional duty. Our country's Founders delineated this responsibility in Section 8 of our Constitution, providing Congress with the power to fund the common defense of the United States. Congress has been moving forward with enacting the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (FY21 NDAA) to support our nation's servicemembers a… Continue Reading

July 27, 2020

Weekly Column: Advocating For A Third Federal Judge For Idaho

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on June 30, 2020, to discuss the Judicial Conference of the United States' most recent recommendations for more federal judgeships. The Judicial Conference has recommended a third judgeship for Idaho consistently since 2003. As a member of the Committee, I reiterated the need to put aside partisan differences and create a third federal district judgeship in Idaho to meet this increasing judicial need. As I stressed during the hearing, … Continue Reading

July 20, 2020

Weekly Column: Civil Forfeiture Reform--Restoring Constitutional Protections

Requiring Americans to prove their property should not have been taken by the government, rather than the government proving guilt, undermines our system of justice. Commonsense restraints must be instituted to protect against civil asset forfeiture abuses. I am again backing legislation to address problems with civil asset forfeiture. According to a March 2017 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General report, the Department seized more than $28 billion over the past ten years via as… Continue Reading

July 13, 2020

Weekly Column: Justice For Missing, Murdered Native Women

A 2016 report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicates that more than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women and men experience violence in their lifetimes; American Indian and Alaska Native women are also two times more likely than other groups to experience rape or sexual assault; and They are two and a half times more likely to experience violent crimes in their lifetimes. While recognizing information on the number of missing Native Americans in the Unit… Continue Reading

July 06, 2020

Weekly Column: Spurring Short Line Rail Investment

Access to affordable and reliable options for transporting Idaho goods to markets is an important part of Idaho small businesses' success and ability to grow and innovate. I am a longtime champion of tax incentives that encourage and support investment in short line railroads because of short line railroads' proven efficiency at moving Idaho goods to customers worldwide. Short line rail has been instrumental in keeping goods moving throughout the pandemic response. The enactment of legislatio… Continue Reading

June 29, 2020

Weekly Column: Justice For All

When there is a need for a major reform in our country, listening is the starting point for sound change. Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss proposed federal policy changes to address police use of force at a Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing. The input of those who have worked closely on this issue is instrumental as we work to enact legislation to rebuild the lost confidence in many institutions designed for the purposes of keeping communities safe. The vast majority of law … Continue Reading

June 22, 2020

Weekly Column: Backing Clean Drinking Water Projects

Clean and safe drinking water is a necessity. We all need clean water, and it must be a priority for every community in our country. In the places where we do not have the assurance that water flowing through the faucets is safe, inadequate infrastructure should be addressed. I led a bipartisan letter urging Senate appropriators to dedicate robust funding to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). These state revolving funds (SRF) program… Continue Reading

June 15, 2020

Weekly Column: Ensuring Broadband Resources Reach Communities That Need Them

We, without a doubt, rely heavily upon broadband technology for business, government and personal activities. As more Americans have worked from home and homeschooled students during the pandemic, the importance of expansive and reliable broadband technology has been accentuated. Efforts have been underway for some time to address a "digital divide" in broadband deployment between rural and urban or suburban areas to ensure communities, regardless of size, can access these technological advanc… Continue Reading

June 08, 2020

Weekly Column: Flag Day--Beacon Of Hope

In recognition of Flag Day, I wrote this column weeks ago to commemorate our flag and national anthem. Today, as our country grapples with division and some have used the flag in expressions of rage, I questioned whether to submit it. However, I determined that especially now we should remember the inspiration of our national symbols as beacons of hope and unity. Our flag is not the symbol of a nation without flaws, but rather a symbol to inspire hope in the ideals we collectively hold. I am… Continue Reading

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

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