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

January 23, 2012

Due Process?

The Fifth Amendment to our Constitution states, "No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."  Idahoans Mike and Chantell Sackett's case, Sackett v. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 9, shines a spotlight on the issue of our constitutional rights to due process.  I feel deeply for the Sacketts, who have expe… Continue Reading

January 16, 2012

Opportunity For Progress

Halfway into the 112 th Congress, we have work yet to do to get America on a more productive path.  However, we have every opportunity to work together to make progress.  As the Senate begins this month, I will continue to press for the following priorities. Getting our nation's fiscal house in order remains our most critical challenge.  With our national debt exceeding $15 trillion, our country can no longer mortgage our future with out-of-control deficit spending.  We mustcontrol unsustainab… Continue Reading

January 09, 2012

On-Farm Learning Needs Protecting

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS), the average age of principal farm operators in 2007 was 57 years, compared with an average of 50 years in 1978.  ERS found that a decline in the number of young farmers and an increase in the number of aging farmers seem to be pushing this age trend.  High startup costs and limited land availability make it difficult for many young farmers to get their start.  With a growing U.S. population-projected at more than … Continue Reading

January 02, 2012

Preparedness Resolutions

As we celebrate the New Year, many people are likely making their New Year's resolutions.  Often times such resolutions include weight loss, health, savings and career goals.  This time of year also provides a good time to sit down as a family and take stock of how prepared we are to recover from emergency situations.  Having a plan and resources in place to help get through a crisis from natural disaster, winter storms, house fires, accidents and other situations can help reduce hardship and en… Continue Reading

December 26, 2011

Regulatory Overload

According to a recent Mercatus Center report, this year, Americans must comply with at least 165,000 pages of federal regulations.  Federal government overreach, particularly when it comes to federal environmental laws, puts unnecessary pressure on hardworking Americans.  Additionally, to dig out of the current economic difficulty, America's small businesses, which drive job growth, need the breathing room necessary to expand and hire American workers, a task made more difficult by a growing mou… Continue Reading

December 19, 2011

Growing Jobs By Reopening Capital Markets To Emerging Companies

Innovative, new companies drive job growth, and initial public offerings (IPO) enable many young companies to access the capital needed to expand and create jobs.  However, in the last ten years, venture-backed initial public offerings on U.S. exchanges fell 75 percent.  This decline is troubling as more than 90 percent of company job growth occurs after an IPO.  To encourage job growth, barriers impeding emerging businesses from obtaining capital to expand and increase jobs must be removed. … Continue Reading

December 16, 2011

Protecting American Civil Liberties While Holding al Qaeda and Taliban Prisoners of War

Recently, the U.S. Senate passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act.  Before the bill was amended it contained a detainee provision that needed work. We, along with other senators, recognized the problem immediately.  That was followed by hearing from many Idahoans regarding their concern with the protection of our civil liberties. Since there has been substantial concern raised and much misinformation circulated, we want to underscore that we share Idahoans' concerns that an out o… Continue Reading

December 12, 2011

Employers' Exceptional Support Of Our Nation

Employers play an essential role in supporting our nation's defense efforts.  Unlike active duty military service members, military service is not a Guard or Reserve member's primary job.  Thus, when they are deployed for active duty, local businesses adjust to overcome reduced manpower and other challenges associated with the absences of valued employees.  America's businesses also provide needed flexibility to military spouses who may need to take time off to support loved ones in the military… Continue Reading

December 05, 2011

Idaho's Example-Setting Youth

America's future relies on the productivity and achievement of America's youth.  Their ingenuity and public involvement power our country's future success.  Too much attention cannot be given to ensuring our youth have the tools needed to excel and challenging them to be their best.  Young people throughout our communities are helping others, engaging in community and national efforts, learning from their achievements and motivating their peers.  Thirty-two years ago, Congress created the Congr… Continue Reading

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