October 14, 2019

Weekly Column: Federal Obligation To Idaho Counties Must Be Met

In September, Idaho County Commissioners visited my office as part of their making the case to Congress about the need to reauthorize Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS). While I welcome opportunities to get a sense of local needs, local officials should be spared the time and expense of having to continuously make the case for this federal responsibility. The federal government must meet its responsibility to rural communiti… Continue Reading

October 07, 2019

Weekly Column: Needed Changes To The Endangered Species Act

Wildlife species should be protected and recovered when possible. But, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as written and enforced has had very limited success. We can do better as envisioned in legislative reforms, including the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act and the Endangered Species Settlement Reform Act, and regulatory reforms advanced by the Administration. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data, 1,784 U.S. species have been listed as threatened or endangered s… Continue Reading

September 30, 2019

Weekly Column: Countering The Assault On Our Supreme Court's Judicial Independence

The Supreme Court of the United States plays a vital role in safeguarding the United States' Constitution. Threats by other members of the U.S. Senate to intimidate the Supreme Court into capitulation of its constitutionally mandated duties goes against every value of judicial independence our country has long held. Fellow Idaho Senator James E. Risch and I joined a majority of our Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the Supreme Court taking issue with legislative threats to the court's i… Continue Reading

September 23, 2019

Weekly Column: Honoring Gold Star Families

The sacrifices families make when their loved ones serve in our nation's Armed Forces are incredibly understated. Military families raise children and hold together households while their loved ones are far from home. They endure sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones serving in harm's way. And, if their loved ones are killed in service to our country, these extraordinary families, recognized as Gold Star families, have to carry on with the memories of their husbands and wives, sons… Continue Reading

September 16, 2019

Weekly Column: Medicaid Patient Abuse Prevention Legislation

In June, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden asked me to introduce legislation to affirm the state's authority to address Medicaid resident abuse beyond traditional health care facility settings. As providers are encouraged to treat patients in home and community-based settings, Medicaid integrity programs need to be able to conduct appropriate oversight to keep Idahoans safe and ensure that taxpayer funds are not misused. In July, I introduced S. 2379 that would clarify the authority of… Continue Reading

September 09, 2019

Weekly Column: September 11--A Day Of Remembrance And Recommitment To First Responders

On the Anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as we pause to remember that tragic day and all those lost, we remember where we were when we watched this national tragedy unfold. The tremendous amount of anxiety, fear and confusion gave way to increased patriotism. This 18th anniversary is a day of remembrance and a day of recommitment to the great Americans who were our nation's first responders in the War on Terrorism. I was in my first term in the U.S. Senate when news ne… Continue Reading

September 02, 2019

Weekly Column: Fortifying Our Supply Chains

We live in an accelerating world requiring reliance on ever-advancing technology for many aspects of our lives. While technology may speed up and facilitate daily tasks, it also presents risk. Attacks through our technology do not just cause frustrating delays; malicious supply chain exploitation endangers our servicemembers without ever firing a shot. I am working to enact legislation that would secure the supply chains that government, industry and the general population rely on to reduce o… Continue Reading

August 26, 2019

Weekly Column: Farm Bill Support For Veteran Farmers And Ranchers

The work ethic, experience, diligence and ingenuity of our nation's veterans lend well to many civilian professions. Some veterans choose to apply their skills to farming and ranching following their military service, and certain federal programs provide tools for former servicemembers transitioning to civilian life or seeking a new career in agriculture production. At the end of last year, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2018 Farm Bill by overwhelmingly bipartisan… Continue Reading

August 19, 2019

Weekly Column: Welcome Discussions On Affordable Housing

Housing affordability is a critical issue in Idaho and all across the country. Nationwide, there is a shortage of millions of affordable rental homes available to lower-income Americans, and the gap between the demand for affordable homes and the supply of new ones being built increases each year. I was proud to welcome U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to visit Idaho recently when we toured nationally recognized models of affordable housing. We discu… Continue Reading

August 12, 2019

Weekly Column: Economic Growth From Regulatory Relief

Over the last two years, Congress and the Administration have taken a number of actions to reduce burdensome and unnecessary regulations, as well as slow the massive growth of new regulations. Through a combination of issuing executive orders, utilizing the Congressional Review Act to overturn unnecessary regulations legislatively, enacting new laws focused on providing relief from onerous regulation and appointing pro-growth agency officials, deregulatory actions are creating more freedom for … Continue Reading

August 05, 2019

Weekly Column: Ending Robocall Scams

Nearly everyone has received those calls in the middle of dinner, in the middle of getting kids to sleep or in the middle of trying to finish a project. We stop what we are doing. We hurry to answer the phone only to hear a long pause followed by an automated voice trying to defraud us of our money. The calls are beyond annoying. They are invasive and can be financially destructive. Legislation I am backing would help end what are known as robocall scams. The non-partisan Congressional Re… Continue Reading

July 29, 2019

Weekly Column: Working To End Veterinarian Shortages

The benefits of living in rural Idaho communities are abundant-easy access to outdoor activities, strong sense of community, great places to raise children, neighbors banding together in times of need or to celebrate accomplishments and much more. But, some dealing with trying to pay high student loans may face challenges with locating anywhere they want. Bipartisan legislation I introduced would make it easier for veterinarians to locate in rural communities with veterinarian shortages. This… Continue Reading

July 22, 2019

Weekly Column: National Day Of The American Cowboy

Idaho's cowboys and cowgirls have a lasting legacy in our great state, where personal responsibility, strength, hard work, integrity and determination are deeply rooted. Resourceful men and women helped build the Idaho we know today and continue to advance a time-honored tradition of living off the land and sustaining it for future generations. The Senate honors the men and women who helped establish the American West through an annual resolution designating the National Day of the American Co… Continue Reading

July 15, 2019

Weekly Column: Americans Deserve Real Data Privacy

Over the last decade, we have experienced a digital revolution that sees people using the Internet to manage more of their daily lives. Mobile applications, social media and search engines have become everyday tools, but their usage is accompanied by a shocking amount of hidden data collection without individuals' knowledge or consent. A report from Cracked Labs on corporate surveillance notes "the behaviors, movements, social relationships, interests, weaknesses and most private moments of bi… Continue Reading

July 08, 2019

Weekly Column: Confronting Threats From China

As Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, I recently led a hearing entitled: "Confronting Threats From China: Assessing Controls on Technology and Investment, and Measures to Combat Opioid Trafficking." With its jurisdiction over banks, markets, export promotion, export controls, and reviews of foreign direct investment security and economic sanctions, the Banking Committee sits at the intersection of U.S. national security, economic prosperity and the glob… Continue Reading

July 01, 2019

Weekly Column: Celebrating Our Extraordinary Independence

Every July 4th we celebrate the establishment of our nation and the values that created it. The freedoms that our inspired founders affirmed in the Declaration of Independence, and upheld in our Constitution, are the guiding principles of our Republic. The Declaration proclaims, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness-That to … Continue Reading

June 24, 2019

Weekly Column: Improving Veterans' Access To Mental Health Care

When we think of what it means to be healthy, we often think of physical health--maintaining an optimal weight, eating well and not having any ailments slowing us down. However, the definition of "healthy" includes not just physical but also mental and emotional wellbeing. Distressing statistics show we cannot afford to overlook the importance of balancing all of these essential parts of healthy living. I recently co-led the introduction of S. 1594, the Show Esteem and Respect for Veterans by… Continue Reading

June 17, 2019

Weekly Column: Stabilizing The Secure Rural Schools Program

"Ninety-seven percent of land in Custer County is state and federally owned and exempt from taxation," explained Custer County Commissioner and Idaho Association of Counties Public Lands Committee Chairman Wayne Butts. "Counties and schools like ours can't operate without federal forest payments." This is the crux of why addressing the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program is important. The SRS program has become vital in budgeting for essential services in Idaho's forest… Continue Reading

June 10, 2019

Weekly Column: We Continue To Be 'Flag Makers'

Our flag is a powerful image of our national strength and American principles. The flag has stood on the Moon. Determined American soldiers raised our flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It was flown on buildings after the September 11 attacks. The coffins of our best and bravest, who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms, are draped with the flag. Our flag flies in communities across our nation as a faithful witness to our national struggles and accomplishments. In a past column,… Continue Reading

June 03, 2019

Weekly Column: Small Businesses Drive Our Economy

Americans turning ideas into jobs and opportunities have made our country into a force of innovation and productivity. The Idaho Small Business Profile issued by the Office of Advocacy, within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), includes the following important small business and economic growth statistics that show just how important they are to our communities: 162,905 small businesses in Idaho account for 99.2 percent of Idaho businesses and 56.2 percent of Idaho's workforce… Continue Reading

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