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

November 28, 2011

The Productiveness Of Collaboration

In Aesop's fable of the North Wind and the Sun, the wind and sun try to settle a dispute regarding who was more powerful through two different techniques to remove a passing traveler's cloak.  The North Wind chose the unsuccessful approach of blowing as hard as it could at the traveler.  This caused the traveler to wrap the cloak more tightly around him.  The sun, on the other hand, shined warmly on the traveler, and the traveler quickly shed his cloak.  Aesop's lesson is one that applies tod… Continue Reading

November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings

We are fortunate to live in a state that produces a wealth of quality agricultural products.  To illustrate Idaho's remarkable agriculture production, I have often cited statistics from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture indicating that if Idahoans had to consume all products produced within the state, each resident would need to consume the following each day:  234 slices of bread; forty potatoes; two pounds of cheese or forty-two glasses of milk; one eight-ounce steak or 1.5 quarter-pou… Continue Reading

November 14, 2011

Permanent Cap On Capital Gains And Dividend Tax Rates Needed

A major problem with the U.S. economy is a drought in capital investment.  This problem is worsened by the uncertainty of the U.S. tax code.  However, when businesses and individuals are confident enough to invest, unemployed Americans will be put back to work and consumer spending will come back to life.  Action to make permanent the current tax rates on capital gains and dividends would help restore this confidence and encourage the investment and job creation needed for economic growth. As n… Continue Reading

November 07, 2011

A Day To Honor Our Heroes

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Dakota Meyer was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous actions in Afghanistan, which included enduring enemy fire to rescue fellow soldiers.  When asked whether he realized his actions were extraordinary, Sgt. Meyer said, "No, I don't.  It would have been extraordinary if I'd brought them out alive.  That would have been extraordinary."  Sgt. Meyer's comments exemplify many American service members' discomfort with being recognized as th… Continue Reading

October 31, 2011

Protecting Forest Jobs And The Communities That Rely On Them

From the kitchen table to the halls of Congress, unemployment is the top priority for America's policymakers and families.  In Washington, D.C., this discussion is often consumed by politics and partisan bickering.  But, in many parts of the Pacific Northwest, the discussion about jobs often comes back to the natural resource industries, such as forestry, that help to build and sustain our region.  However, a recent court decision dealing with forest roads poses yet another major obstacle, which… Continue Reading

October 24, 2011

A Call To Action To Prevent Domestic Violence

In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, communities across the nation have been holding events to promote awareness of domestic violence's devastating effects on families and communities and needed discussions to rid our communities of this violence that has impacted too many lives.  For example, some communities have displayed pairs of shoes representing the victims of domestic violence in the local area.  Such displays provide a powerful reminder of the lives affected by … Continue Reading

October 17, 2011

U.S. Job Growth Among Benefits Of South Korean Trade Alliance

In recent years, the U.S. has slipped from being the top exporter to South Korea to third place.  Tariffs on U.S. products entering this market do not help.  South Korea's agricultural tariffs average almost 49 percent.  Paying nearly $1 billion annually, U.S. exporters to South Korea face average tariffs on industrial goods of more than double the average tariffs South Korea faces exporting to the U.S.  The wound is entirely self-inflicted by the needless delay in passingan agreement to immedia… Continue Reading

October 10, 2011

Tax Reform Part Of Multipronged Solution

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, on which I serve as Ranking Member, recently held a hearing to explore the rolefor tax reform in comprehensive deficit reduction and U.S. fiscal policy.  Tax reform is a necessary part of improving our economy.  However, to fully get our nation on better footing, a multipronged solution is needed that includes pro-growth tax reform, regulatory reform, fundamental entitlement program reform and strict budget enforcement… Continue Reading

October 03, 2011

Colombia: Ally And Trade Partner

The U.S. and Colombia have a long history of working together.  Marco Fidel Suárez, President of Colombia in the early 1920s, was a proponent of a policy tying Colombia's future to America through geography, trade and democracy.  During World War II, the alliance between our countries became more defined.  More recently, Colombia has been a regional partner in counternarcotics and security and a bulwark against hostile and autocratic regimes in our hemisphere.  Colombia's partnership also offers… Continue Reading

September 26, 2011

Thank You For Your Thoughts And Ideas

Idaho is full of thoughtful and creative people with good ideas about how to strengthen and improve our nation.  In August and earlier this month, I hosted town hall meetings and other public events across Idaho where I visited directly with hundreds of Idahoans who provided helpful input and encouragement as we tackle national challenges. From my forums in Twin Falls, Meridian, Coeur d'Alene, Rexburg, Weiser and Driggs, and in other large gatherings across Idaho, the message was clear:  Idahoa… Continue Reading

September 19, 2011

Let's Get The Job Done On Job Creation

We need more secure, high-skilled jobs in America.  There is broad agreement on that fact.  All the discussion about how to create American jobs has served its purpose of identifying solutions.  We have had enough talk.  We must get to work creating the environment for job and economic growth. While home during the state work period, I had the opportunity to discuss directly with fellow Idahoans the challenges our nation faces and hear ideas about how to resolve these challenges.  It is clear t… Continue Reading

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