April 01, 2013

Irresponsible Budgeting

As the first time in almost four years that the Senate debated a budget resolution, the Senate's recent debate of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Resolution was welcome.  Unfortunately, the irresponsible budget, which was enacted by a vote of 50 to 49, was filled with greater spending, taxes and debt.  We can, and must, do better.  This budget increases spending by 62 percent over the next decade, raises taxes up to $1.5 trillion and does nothing to reform unsustainable entitlement programs that, i… Continue Reading

March 25, 2013

A Step In The Right Direction For Families

Congress recently passed and President Obama signed bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for another five years.  Beyond being a bright spot in a divided Congress, this legislation helps to reduce the abuse that destroys families. Throughout my time representing the interests of Idahoans, I have had the opportunity to visit Idaho shelters and attend briefings by local and state domestic violence abuse prevention advocates.  Among these experiences is a visi… Continue Reading

March 18, 2013

Energy Production Benefits By The Numbers

The Institute For Energy Research (IER), which researches functions, operations and government regulation of global energy markets, recently released a report titled "Beyond the Congressional Budget Office:  The Additional Economic Effects of Immediately Opening Federal Lands To Oil and Gas Leasing."  The study reiterates that expanding domestic energy sources could immediately create millions of jobs and generate billions in revenue to reduce our federal debt, while also furthering our energy i… Continue Reading

March 11, 2013

Let Idaho Endure Forever

President Abraham Lincoln helped establish Idaho by signing into law, on March 4, 1863, legislationcreating the Idaho Territory.  This 150-year anniversary of the Idaho Territory lets us reflect on our state's remarkable history and accomplishments.  Before Idaho became a state in 1890, it was part of several territorial reorganizations.  It was first included in the Oregon Territory (1848-1853); then divided between the Washington Territory and Oregon Territory until 1859.  When Oregon becam… Continue Reading

March 04, 2013

The Worst Of All Possible Options Is Doing Nothing

Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming), Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Maya MacGuineas recently joined us at a federal fiscal issues symposiumhosted by the University of Idaho's McClure Center for Public Policy Research.  The symposium provided an opportunity for us to sit down with some of those working to find solutions to America's fiscal crisis and discuss with Idahoans the debt crisis that threatens our nation's future.  America… Continue Reading

February 25, 2013

Prioritizing Regulatory Reform

My heart goes out to the bookkeepers and small business owners across the nation who spend hours wading through thousands of pages of often-puzzling and changing federal regulation to conduct business.  The Mercatus Center reported that in 2011 Americans had to comply with 165,000 pagesof federal regulations.  This bureaucracy is an unnecessary drain on our economy that impedes our nation's growth.  That is why as part of the solution for the fiscal crisis I will continue to advocate for elimi… Continue Reading

February 18, 2013

Focus Must Be On Jobs, Economic Recovery

Like many, I watched with great interest President Obama's recent State of the Union Address, in which he outlined his priorities.  Fiscal reform and economic growth should top the list of priorities for the President and Congress over the next four years.  The debt crisis is the most pressing issue facing our nation today.  In the midst of this crisis, the President and Congress have the opportunity to reform our badly broken tax system, address the federal spending problem and promote a sustai… Continue Reading

February 11, 2013

From The Mailbag: Second Amendment Rights

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.  The top issues constituents have contacted me about recently include action taken by the Obama Administration regarding firearms and Second Amendment rights.  The following is my response: A number of ideas are being b… Continue Reading

February 04, 2013

Opportunities For The 113th Congress

The most important objective of this Congress should be to focus on efforts that solve our fiscal crisis, create jobs for Americans and get our economy on the right track.  I have written about the opportunity that this Congress has to take long-term actions to improve our nation's economy and discussed some of the solutions, including reforming our broken tax code and stabilizing entitlement programs.  We must also address the spending problem and strengthen budget enforcement mechanisms to st… Continue Reading

January 28, 2013

Prioritizing Entitlement Program Reform

As discussed in a recent column, addressing the debt crisis remains the most pressing issue our nation faces and my number one priority in the 113 th Congress.  Along with comprehensive tax reform, strengthening budget controls and addressing the spending problem, stabilizing entitlement programs is a critical part of this effort.  As mandatory programs makeup the majority of federal spending, debt solutions must address automatic federal spending.  Most importantly, fiscal strains on mandatory… Continue Reading

January 21, 2013

Priority #1: Address The Debt Crisis

Addressing the debt crisis remains the most pressing issue our nation faces and my number one priority in the 113 th Congress.  The debt crisis is much more than just the fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling.  It threatens our economic wellbeing and national security.  In the midst of this massive crisis are a number of critical opportunities-including opportunities to reform our badly broken tax code; stabilize entitlement programs; establish powerful budget controls; and address our spending prob… Continue Reading

January 14, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Averted But Work Far From Over

I agree with those who have characterized the recently passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff as a missed opportunity to comprehensively address our nation's economic crisis.  I voted for H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, because it made permanent the tax relief we have been fighting for throughout the past ten years, and it temporarily heads off an acceleration of the fiscal crisis that many economists forecast would have put our fragile economy back into recession.  Making this t… Continue Reading

December 24, 2012

The Consequences of Inaction

Americans are once again facing the consequences of presidential and congressional inaction.  If we fall off the fiscal cliff in the coming days, then every American taxpayer will face a tax increase.  Here is a review of some of the most damaging potential tax increases.  Income tax rates will increase to as high as 39.6 percent if the fiscal cliff is not addressed.  The Tax Foundation analyzed how the fiscal cliff would affect typical families across the country and included Boise, Coeur d'Al… Continue Reading

December 17, 2012

Curbing Overspending

Senate procedure can be too cumbersome and detailed to adequately discuss concisely.  However, given the recent use of a Senate budget point of order in the consideration of the Sportmen's Act, it is a good time to take a look at budget enforcement measures and the need to strengthen them.  Tougher budget enforcement measures are one of the tools needed to reduce federal overspending.  Our national debt has risen to more than $16 trillion, and $1.1 trillion in deficit spending has been added to… Continue Reading

December 10, 2012

Prioritizing Family

We all know families are important.  Family routines and traditions, such as shared meals and holiday activities, can have positive effects on the development of our children and the direction of our lives.  Unfortunately, busy schedules can cause important family time to get lost in the shuffle.   As a husband, father and grandfather, I know how difficult it can be to squeeze enough time out of each day to get quality time with our loved ones, while also meeting work responsibilities.  Studies… Continue Reading

December 03, 2012

Celebrating 33 Years Of Youth Achievement

Thirty-three years ago, Congress created the Congressional Award to recognize achievement, initiative and service in America's youth.  Communities nationwide have benefited from the more than 3.5 million hours of public service provided by participants in the program.  This year, fifty-two Idaho youth were honored for their contributions to our communities. The Idahoans are from twenty Idaho communities, including Athol, Boise, Caldwell, Coeur d'Alene, Eagle, East Port, Hailey, Hayden Lake, Hey… Continue Reading

November 26, 2012

Idahoans Voice Views On America's Fiscal Future

I recently held my fourth and final tele-townhall meeting of the year.  These regular meetings areone of the many ways I learn from and get the insights of my fellow Idahoans.  I value this guidance greatly. The primary purpose of the tele-townhall meeting held on November 14 was to discuss the nation's calamitous fiscal situation.  I have been working with senators from both sides of the aisle to advance responsible solutions to address our growing debt crisis.  Most immediately, the country f… Continue Reading

November 19, 2012

Thanking American Farmers

"Improving agricultural productivity has been the world's primary safeguard against a recurring Malthusian crisis--where the needs of a growing population outstrip the ability of man and resources to supply food.  Over the past 50 years, global gross agricultural output has more than tripled in volume, and productivity growth in agriculture has enabled food to become more abundant and cheaper…If productivity growth slows, then more resources--land, labor, energy, fertilizers, and other input… Continue Reading

November 12, 2012

National Native American Heritage Month

Much of Idaho's history begins with Native American Tribes.  The Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute contribute to the richness of Idaho's history and are each important to its future.  The U.S. Senate passed a resolution I co-sponsored that recognizes this November as National Native American Heritage Month and celebrates the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and their contribution to the United States.  A provision in the resolution highlights som… Continue Reading

November 05, 2012

The Spirit Of Freedom

"I would have to say that every nurse that has ever been in a war has experienced the same thing.  When you help a wounded man they always say, 'Thank you ma'am, you're an angel.'  You never forget looking into the eyes of an 18-year-old kid that is mortally wounded and you know he's going to die and he knows he's going to die.  And, more often than not, these kids would always say, 'Ma'am, could you help my buddy?  He's on the stretcher ahead of me and he's hurt a lot worse than I am.'"  Those … Continue Reading

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