June 03, 2013

Taking County Funds Is Not The Solution

The Budget Control Act of 2011, a concept first proposed by the Obama administration, requires across-the-board spending reductions in federal government programs.  For Fiscal Year 2013, the estimated sequester is $85 billion and would apply to federal agencies and programs unless otherwise exempted by law.  The administration has been implementing sequestration based on its priorities.  The administration's decision to cut Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools and Self Deter… Continue Reading

May 27, 2013

Honoring Citizen Soldiers

This Memorial Day we join with family and friends to honor the many brave Americans who we depend on to secure our homeland, while remembering the sacrifices of those who lost their lives defending our freedoms.  As we reflect on the service of these brave men and women, we must count among them the citizen soldiers who make up our National Guard and Reserve forces.  These men and women are an essential part of our military and, along with all members of our armed services, they have my utmost r… Continue Reading

May 20, 2013

Multiple-Use Management Cannot Be Lost

It seems that in recent years there has been a decreased focus on ensuring multiple use of public lands.   Multiple use of public lands remains the most effective utilization of our natural resources, and it is the guiding law for their management.  It is central to balancing the needs of those who enjoy the outdoors and those who rely on public lands for their businesses.  It allows for the productive use of the land and protection of the environmental services these lands provide.  Unfortunate… Continue Reading

May 13, 2013

Watching The Watchdog

As part of our government's system of checks and balances, Congress conducts oversight over agencies to bring about transparency and accountability.  This is even more necessary with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was established unlike any other federal department or agency.  Unlike most federal agencies, it does not have to justify its actions or expenditures and the director holds unique power to determine the agency's budget and mission priorities without any public d… Continue Reading

May 06, 2013

From The Mailbag: FAA Airport Towers

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 concerns about funding cuts by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that would remove contracted control tower service in many small cities acros… Continue Reading

April 29, 2013

Additional Cost-Saving Steps Needed

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released its annual report to Congress that identifies potentially redundant government programs and opportunities to save billions of dollars through eliminating government overlap.  The agency also took stock of progress in reducing previously identified duplication, overlap and fragmentation, meaning multiple agencies conducting programs or activities in the same area in the federal government.  GAO provided recommendations of steps tha… Continue Reading

April 22, 2013

Conservation That Counts

The best way to ensure that we continue to have clean water and air, productive soil and healthy habitat for wildlife is by working cooperatively with property owners to promote conservation.  Collaborative conservation efforts result in lasting commitment to real improvements.  These voluntary efforts are preferable to heavy-handed, blunt regulations that result in little actual improvement. It would be hard to argue the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been successful in recovering species.  … Continue Reading

April 15, 2013

The Impacts Of EPA Regulations

Business owners know to plan for change.  In our evolving, global economy, they understand that there will be ups and downs due to market and policy changes.  They understand that operating a business, whether it is a ranch, farm or retail store, involves risks.  However, they should be able to expect that our government will not pursue federal policies when the benefits do not outweigh the costs.  Unfortunately, there are too many examples of federal regulations that make it harder to do busine… Continue Reading

April 08, 2013

Cleanup, Redevelopment and Jobs

For years, the Linen Building at the northwest corner of 14 th and Grove Streets in Boise was vacant due to concerns about contamination stemming from its historic uses involving commercial laundry, fuel storage and cleaning solvent storage.  This historic property, in the heart of Boise's downtown, was cleaned up, redeveloped and now houses businesses, an event center, an art gallery and a parking area.  The Environmental Council of the States reported that development of the Linen Building le… Continue Reading

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

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