June 11, 2012

Rational Energy Policy Still Needed

Since 2008, we have experienced three periods of severely increased gasoline prices.  Idaho gas prices currently average$3.77.  High gas prices put pressure on families trying to get to work, school and elsewhere.  They also drive up the cost of food and goods and divert resources that could otherwise go toward expansion of America's small businesses and job growth.  We simply must be smarter and more efficient in our use of all forms of energy, and aggressive development of our own energy resou… Continue Reading

June 04, 2012

More Than 1,100 Days And Counting

Every American family and business has to develop a budget.  The President offered a budget.  Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives offered budgets.  Republicans in the U.S. Senate have introduced several budgets.  Yet, three years have passed since the Senate Majority last adopted a budget plan.  The dire need for adoption of a comprehensive plan to take America off the path toward fiscal crisis and put us on a path toward economic growth drove me to join another recent… Continue Reading

May 28, 2012

Honoring The Legacy Of Great Americans

The modern observance of Memorial Day grew from Civil War-era community observances, in which friends and families gathered to remember those lost in the war.  Over time, as this local practice caught on, it became known as Decoration Day.  Later, honoring the fallen of all the nation's wars, it became Memorial Day.  It has been, in the truest sense of the word, a day of remembrance born at the grassroots level. Reminders of what Memorial Day is about are all over the world.  In Normandy, Franc… Continue Reading

May 21, 2012

Still Plenty Of Room For Belt Tightening

In March of 2011, I wroteabout a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that highlighted potentially redundant government programs and offered opportunities to save billions of dollars, without reducing services, through eliminating government overlap.  A year later, GAO reportedon the progress made in eliminating potential duplication, overlap and fragmentation in the federal government and identified additional areas and actions that can be taken to further improve program effe… Continue Reading

May 14, 2012

Honoring Mothers

Through tradition and Presidential proclamation, Americans have set aside the second Sunday in May to celebrate mothers.  Mothers are the backbone of society, and as a son, father and husband, I know they are the glue of our families.  We should honor them every day, but since 1914 we have had a day on the calendar to annually remind us to do so.  Prior to the formal declaration of Mother's Day, U.S. mothers gathered in the aftermath of the Civil War to promote peace.  Mothers who lost sons and… Continue Reading

May 07, 2012

Caring For Each Other

Reports that unemployment statistics in Idaho are down are welcome.  Unfortunately, an estimated 62,000 Idahoans remain jobless and 1 in 6 Idaho residents--including more than 95,000 Idaho children--are food insecure, which means that they lack enough income and other resources for food.  Idahoans, food banks and other organizations have been working effectively to address this problem, including developing successful partnerships with Idaho's agricultural industry.  However, despite success in … Continue Reading

April 30, 2012

From The Mailbag: Social Security And Medicare

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 number one issue constituents have contacted me about recently is protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits as Congress considers measures to address our nation's debt crisis.  The following is my response: … Continue Reading

April 23, 2012

April Brings Shared Effort To End Violence

With April representing Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness Month and the week of April 22-28 signifying National Crime Victim's Rights Week, Idaho and national organizations are working to promote the need for communities to work together to raise awareness of victims' rights and services, prevent and respond to violence and honor victims and survivors.  This also provides a fitting time to advance legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that has hel… Continue Reading

April 16, 2012

Sales Abroad Support Idaho Jobs

The U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) recently reported that Idaho's sales of goods in foreign markets in 2011 reached a record high of $5.9 billion.  These sales of Idaho products abroad supported approximately 20,000 Idaho jobs, or about 3.9 percent of total private sector jobs.  Idahoans are developing innovative products and selling them in more than 150 countries, and these international sales are helping to support and boost Idaho jobs.  In one Idaho success story, approxi… Continue Reading

April 09, 2012

A Serious Wakeup Call

The U.S. recently gained a disturbing world title.  As of April 1, when Japan lowered its corporate tax rate, the U.S. now has the highest combined corporate tax rate in the world.  The U.S. rate of 39.2 percent is well above the average global corporate tax rate of 25 percent.  Taxing American job creators at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world sends the wrong message and runs counter to efforts to increase U.S. jobs and encourage businesses to expand in the U.S.  Pro-growth tax refor… Continue Reading

April 02, 2012

Reining In The EPA

"In a nation that values due process, not to mention private property, such treatment is unthinkable," wrote U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to describe the situation Mike and Chantell Sackett faced.  On March 21, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Sacketts would be permitted to challenge a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement action against them.  This ruling means the EPA will not be able to use the Clean Water Act to strong-arm Americans without the op… Continue Reading

March 26, 2012

Honoring The Commitment To Rural Communities

More than 60 percent of Idaho is federal land, a majority of which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.  With such a large footprint of federal land ownership, Idaho's counties that are home to federal forests often have an extremely limited tax base.  However, these communities are still expected to provide needed services and meet an ever-increasing list of requirements, including road maintenance, emergency response, law enforcement, solid waste disposal, and education, that benefit the fed… Continue Reading

March 19, 2012

Consumers Can Reduce The Cost Of Health Care

The private sector is working to change the way we can shop for quality health care services.  Many insurance companies are working with providers to offer programs that show consumers the cost and value of procedures in their community.  Unfortunately, provisions in Obamacare are undermining these developments.  At a time when Americans are experiencing the financial burden of medical care, consumers should have more control over their money, and the federal government should not hinder the pri… Continue Reading

March 12, 2012

Financial Fitness

Financial "literacy" or "fitness" encompasses a wide range of activities, such as managing money effectively; investing; setting up savings accounts for major life expenses, such as college and retirement; and prudent tax preparation.  However, being financially sound generally means putting together the financial reserves necessary to be able to meet financial challenges and retire without being stressed financially.  This objective can be much easier said than done and requires consistent pla… Continue Reading

March 05, 2012

Main Street Focus

Main Streets are the heart of our communities.  Families and friends gather for parades and other local celebrations along Main Streets.  Children trick-or-treat in Main Street businesses, and folks come together in Main Street establishments for buying, selling, entertainment and local charitable events.  These hubs also often signify the vitality of the area and attract visitors and other businesses.  Small businesses are central to keeping Main Streets across the state and nation bustling and… Continue Reading

February 27, 2012

Breaking The Clear Pattern

In a survey released in December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 69 percent of female and 53 percent of male victims of violence at the hands of a significant other experienced some form of this type of violence for the first time when they were young.  Early intervention is critical to stopping violence in youth relationships before it starts and breaking the pattern of violence that can carry on into adult relationships.  Relationships significantly shape t… Continue Reading

February 20, 2012

Honoring Steve Appleton's Life And Legacy

Notably, Idaho ranks first in the nation for the number of patents held per capita.  The vast majority of those patents are attributable to Micron Technology, Inc.  Idaho is unquestionably home to many resourceful and innovative individuals--people who work hard to advance ideas that spark development and achievements around the world.  Among them, was Steve Appleton.  Following Steve Appleton's untimely passing, many of us, including Idaho Governor Butch Otter and our fellow members of Idaho's… Continue Reading

February 13, 2012

From The Mailbag: Keystone XL Pipeline

As active participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me to provide valuable input about the issues our country faces.  Realizing that many Idahoans may not have the chance to contact me, I also post the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website.  The number one issue constituents have contacted me about recently is the Keystone XL Pipeline project.  The following is my response: On January 30, 2012, Senator John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) intro… Continue Reading

February 06, 2012

Open Lines Of Communication

As I represent the interests of Idahoans in the U.S. Senate, the most indispensible tool is a sense of what is on your minds.  The time you take to keep me up to speed on your interests and opinions about the issues shaping our nation is deeply beneficial.  Last year, I received more than 83,000 pieces of correspondence from Idahoans.  I thank you for this insight, and I welcome your ongoing input as the Senate's work continues.               No matter the form in which you choose to communicat… Continue Reading

January 30, 2012

The Charge Ahead

In December, Congress passed and the President signed legislation to temporarily extend a number of expiring provisions, including temporary payroll tax relief, with an agreement that a conference committee would be formed to reach agreement on a full-year payroll tax extension.  I am honored to serve on this conference committee that will consider payroll tax reductions and address unemployment and health care issues.  The following is an explanation of some of the issues in the legislation bef… Continue Reading

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