January 13, 2014

Food Safety Need Not Cripple Production

Just before the end of the year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a welcome step in announcing it would revise provisions of its proposed fresh produce rules that have been of concern due to the potential placement of unnecessary, costly burdens on certain farming operations, probable impacts on conservation efforts and more.  This provides an opportunity to go in a different direction andhelp ensure that new food safety measures fix problems without crippling production. On… Continue Reading

January 06, 2014

Idaho Farmers And Ranchers Help Feed The World

The U.S. Trade Representative reported that, in 2012 alone, the U.S. sold $235 million worth of potatoes, $42 million worth of beans, $1.1 billion worth of apples and $53.3 billion worth of corn products to consumers around the world.  These are just a few examples of how American farmers and ranchers are helping to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population. According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Idahoans produce more than 185 different agricultural commodities… Continue Reading

December 23, 2013

Honoring Native American Heritage

The five Native American tribes of Idaho-the Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute-contribute to Idaho's rich culture and are intrinsic to Idaho's history and development.  In recognition of their important role in our communities, for the past five years, I have supported legislation to celebrate the heritages of Native Americans and their contributions to the United States.  The resolution I co-sponsored, which was passed by the Senate by Unanimous Consent o… Continue Reading

December 16, 2013

Protecting Water Sovereignty

Our water is one of our greatest resources.  Access to clean, abundant water is fundamental to our economic well-being and critical to communities, economic development, agriculture, commerce, transportation, recreation and energy.  Efforts to expand the federal government's jurisdiction over our waters threaten to upset the appropriate involvement of state, federal, local and private parties in effective water quality management policies.  That is why I recently joined 29 of my Senate colleague… Continue Reading

December 09, 2013

Pushing Back Against UN Arms Trade Treaty

International organizations like the United Nations (UN) cannot deny American citizens the right to bear arms.  We must protect and preserve this constitutional right.  That is why I joined 49 of my Senate colleagues in writing to President Obama to express strong concerns about his decision to sign the UN's Arms Trade Treaty.  We conveyed our opposition to ratification of this treaty and that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold the treaty's purpose.  On April 2, 2013, the UN approved … Continue Reading

December 02, 2013

Health Care Reform: We Need A New Direction

I recently shared in the Senate some of the infuriating experiences of Idahoans who are among the more than three million Americans now losing health care coverage and facing much higher premiums due to the Affordable Care Act.  The promises of the flawed health care law are nothing like the realities.  The American people deserve health care reform with permanent solutions to the drops in coverage, rising premiums and other problems, not temporary fixes that exacerbate public confusion about Ob… Continue Reading

November 25, 2013

Thinking Of Idahoans Far From Home

This Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays we will join together with family and friends to celebrate our many blessings-time with loved ones, health, contentment, a home, food on our tables.  Whatever our blessings may be, let us keep those Idahoans who are far from home in our thoughts and prayers.  Unfortunately, many Idahoans are spending the holidays separated from their loved ones.  Included among them are Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini and Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho.  Sgt. Bowe B… Continue Reading

November 18, 2013

The Spirit Of Freedom Remains Strong

Each year, on Veterans Day, as we honor the men and women who protect our freedoms, I have the great honor of awarding some of these remarkable individuals with the Spirit of Freedom:  Idaho Veterans Service Award.  This award, which is presented to Idaho veterans and volunteers who assist veterans, provides an opportunity to recognize the outstanding service of area veterans and many in our communities.  Idaho is replete with individuals worthy of being honored for their remarkable service.  Th… Continue Reading

November 11, 2013

Balancing Work And Family

As a husband, father and grandfather, I understand the challenges of balancing time with family and our professional lives.  It often seems that there is just not enough time in each day to accomplish all we need to accomplish and also have quality time with our loved ones.  However, a healthy balance between work and family can help produce happier and more productive employees to the benefit of families, communities and our nation.  In recognition of the value of time with family, for the pas… Continue Reading

November 04, 2013

Housing Finance Reform Within Reach

In 2008, then-Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director James Lockhart stood jointly with then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to announce Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were being placed into conservatorship, since they did not have enough capital to support expected losses.  The government assumed control of these two multi-trillion dollar companies, with combined portfolios exceeding five trillion dollars.  Meant to be a temporary solution until Congress and the Administration could reform a… Continue Reading

October 28, 2013

Efforts Must Continue To End Domestic Violence

This month, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, many are coming together to remember the lives lost to domestic violence, recognize survivors and collaborate with others working to raise awareness and provide resources for victims.  The efforts of many across our nation are helping to make progress in ending this intolerable violence in our communities, and we must continue to build on these accomplishments.  Idahoans have dedicated considerable time and resources to keeping fellow Idahoa… Continue Reading

October 14, 2013

Crushing Debt Requires Substantive Solutions

Even before the latest debate on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, we have been hearingsome politicians claim our fiscal crisis is over and the government should raise more in taxes to pay for more government spending, which they believe has been cut by too much in recent years.  Modeststeps have been taken to reduce discretionary spending and hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes have been piled on middle and upper income families.  These efforts have caused slight improvemen… Continue Reading

September 30, 2013

Interest In What Is Happening In Washington

I recently held my third tele-townhall meeting of the year.  These regular meetings areone of the ways I hear the insights of Idahoans.  I value this input greatly. The primary purpose of the tele-townhall meeting held on September 18 was to discuss issues before Congress this fall.  This includes discussions about new gun restrictions, engagement with Syria and federal budgeting issues.  During the tele-townhall, I heard concern about Congress' inability to enact a budget and questions about o… Continue Reading

September 23, 2013

The Importance Of Outdoor Recreation

As summer turns to fall and many across Idaho prepare for annual hunting trips, I am reminded of outdoor recreation's important role in our lives and communities. In experiencing the outdoors and observing our natural surroundings, we gain a better understanding of the complexities of our beautiful world.  Spending time enjoying the outdoors also provides an opportunity to reset from the jumble of everyday life.  I grew up camping, hunting and fishing-a tradition I shared with my children and c… Continue Reading

September 09, 2013

From The Mailbag: Financial Account Monitoring

As active participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces.  Realizing that many may not have the chance to contact me, I post the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website.  Interest in the nomination of Richard Cordray to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is among the issues constituents have contacted me about recently.  News accounts have reported theCFPB may… Continue Reading

September 02, 2013

Expanding Hydropower

We are fortunate that Idaho is home to extensive hydroelectric resources that offer reliable and renewable energy.  Hydropower is the source of more than 75 percent of Idaho's electricity generation, and hydropower efficiently and cleanly provides approximately seven percent of the nation's electricity.  Recent action in Congress will better enable the expansion of this important energy source.  To better employ our nation's hydroelectric resources, I co-sponsored two pieces of legislation that… Continue Reading

August 26, 2013

Food Safety Important But Must Be Reasonable

Taking preventative measures to ensure food safety is an important goal.  However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed fresh produce rule is another example of the federal government going too far.  FDA's umbrella approach in its treatment of various crops and commodities regardless of risk level places unnecessary, costly burdens on certain farming operations.  We cannot allow excessive regulations and costs to continue to be layered on farm families and expect them to be abl… Continue Reading

August 19, 2013

Advancing Tax Reform Principles

As the Senate Finance Committee advances tax reform, I remain committed to the hard work of comprehensive fiscal reform, combining thoughtful tax reform with fundamental reforms to mandatory programs.  As part of this process I recently had the opportunity to submit a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) outlining my proposal for comprehensive tax reform.  Tax reform needs to be comprehensive to get us past the tired and fail… Continue Reading

August 12, 2013

Wildfire Mitigation Efforts

As wildfires burn across the western United States, efforts continue in Congress to try to help alleviate pressure on the firefighters and others working tirelessly to keep our communities safe.  While some of these objectives will take time to achieve, it is clear that we need to maintain focus on improving the health of our federal lands, decreasing the threat of catastrophic fires and ensuring that firefighters have the best resources to protect our communities.    I recently joined Senator … Continue Reading

August 05, 2013

Maintaining Equitable Access To Our Federal Lands

I have long been a proponent of fair access to our public lands.  Americans pay for the upkeep of our federal land assets and should not be shut out of benefitting from these resources through unnecessary restrictions and steep fees.  This includes ensuring that cabin user fees on federal lands are administered fairly and reasonably.  That is why I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in reintroducing legislation to help ensure the continuation of equitable access to our federal lands by a… Continue Reading

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